Bad news for Washington political watchers: KING-TV has canceled its long-running Sunday political program, “Up Front with Robert Mak.”
KING Executive News Director Mark Ginther confirmed the decision Wednesday, attributing it to an advertising slowdown that forced cuts throughout the station.
The Emmy-award winning show will air its final segment Dec. 2, ending an 11-year run as one of the region’s best known and most in-depth TV programs covering politics and government. Mak regularly interviewed top elected leaders and other newsmakers, moderated candidate debates and showed a deft touch in explaining some of the region’s thorniest political and social issues.
Mak has been offered “a role to continue on as our chief political reporter,” Ginther said. He said he expects Mak to stay on but has not heard a formal reply. Veteran Up Front producer Mike Cate also will be retained. Some of the material previously covered on Up Front may now be folded into an extended Sunday-morning newscast. Mak did not immediately return a phone message Wednesday.
Ginther said it wasn’t so much Up Front’s ratings that led to the decision. “The ratings were OK,” he said. But he said KING couldn’t sell enough advertising for the show to justify the amount of staff work that went into producing it every week.
The Seattle advertising market “isn’t performing as robustly as we had hoped,” Ginther said, even with the political season’s ad boom. In a round of cutbacks last week, Ginther said the KING newsroom was reduced by seven positions, through a combination of layoffs and not filling vacant jobs.