Update: SOLD OUT!
Thank you so much to generous readers and viewers from around the world. The now super-rare Mark Steyn Show Bag has flown off the shelves, and there are now no more left, save for the cat tray at right. SteynOnline gift certificates are still available.
This has been a stunning and sobering week for me, with nothing quite like it before in my professional life. Many viewers of The Mark Steyn Show have asked me to write my account of what really happened. To be honest, I've found it easier addressing Trump's joint address and the Obamas' book deal and immigrant terrorists and immigrant gangs and almost any other subject - which is why I'll be back on the telly next week, rather than sitting around the house getting slumped in despair.
But I can't really write about what went down when CRTV yanked the rug out from under me last Monday for two reasons: 1) I haven't yet fully "processed" it, as the psychobabblers say; and 2) it's a matter of legal dispute, which means every jot and tittle has to be lawyered within a millimeter of its life, which takes all the fun out of writing. There is also a third reason - that, thanks to CRTV's financial machinations, this may be the end of me in America, and, despite my experience in apocalyptic bestsellers, unhappy endings are tough to write. [UPDATE: On the other hand, the lefties over at Salon are writing about it. Some interesting details even I was not aware of.]
However, I thank you sincerely for all your letters of support, a few more of which we've appended below. I was especially touched to hear from Barbara Simpson, KSFO's Babe in the Bunker, whose show had the coolest theme music and which I always enjoyed guesting on:
So sorry to read of the contract dispute resulting in the cancellation of your role on CRTV. I suspected something was up when nothing was happening and no one said anything. I hope that you will devise another venue for your continuing presence on video. You are simply terrific and are a voice that needs to be seen and heard.
It's not strictly true that "no one said anything": in fact, for a week CRTV told their customers that there were "technical difficulties with the show", when in fact there were no technical difficulties whatsoever: they were being uploaded by us to CRTV every day but CRTV's boss was refusing to air them.
Barbara also reminds us that, like a lot of people in this line of endeavor, she's been here before:
One day, mid-week, I got a call from the station telling me that my program was cancelled, effective immediately, no reason given. It was my 19th year of doing it! Ain't show biz grand!?!?!?
Indeed. I just wish we'd had 19 years - or 19 weeks. We've also had a lot of letters along the lines of this one, from Melissa McClure:
- You are by far the best guest host Rush Limbaugh has EVER had.
- The ONLY reason I signed up for CRTV was YOU.
- I absolutely LOVED your shows I did get to see. You are the best interviewer I have ever seen. You let people talk (what a concept!!). You are genuinely interested in your guests and their opinions and the joy on set is palpable.
- I called and canceled my subscription with CRTV the moment I heard what happened.
- I received a refund of 89 bucks from CRTV.
- I got 89 bucks with your name on them. You tell me how to send you a check and the money will be on its way.
Thank you, Melissa. I don't know how serious all these offers to pass along CRTV refunds are, but just on the off-chance (and if you don't want to take out another SteynOnline gift certificate) we do have something with your name on it:
When CRTV fired me, they also left me holding the bag - for February's payroll and production costs. If you saw The Mark Steyn Show during its brief run, you'll know it was not a cheap show to do - a large multi-camera set with a sophisticated lighting rig, special guests flown in from New York and Los Angeles to a very remote location, a house band... And in what were (unknown to me) the final weeks of the show I also did special episodes filmed live in Phoenix and Ottawa. Under our contract, CRTV were supposed to pay for all the production expenses.
Instead, after breaking the contract and firing me without honoring its terms, they flat-out refused to pay. I didn't feel the cameramen and production assistants and musicians and audio engineers should have to suffer because I was stupid enough to get into bed with CRTV. So I absorbed the huge six-figure cost, of everything from the makeup lady in Phoenix to the grand piano rental in Ottawa, and even the cleaning ladies and other maintenance costs of the studio that CRTV wound up locking me out of. Because there's no reason why the cleaning ladies should get screwed over by CRTV.
But now you can be left holding the bag, too! As part of the promotional merchandise for the show, we ordered up a small number of Mark Steyn Show canvas tote bags, expecting to give away a few here and there over the show's run. Now the bag has wound up outliving the show. If you'd like a souvenir of my now cancelled show and to help defray the costs of the financial hole CRTV has lowered me into, we're selling them off. They're very useful: If you're embarrassed to be seen strolling around town with my books, now you can tuck them discreetly in your stylish tote bag, and be embarrassed to be seen strolling around with a Mark Steyn Show bag. It's a whole other level of mortification.
We're pricing them at the cost of a CRTV subscription, which is a little more than a canvas bag usually costs. But in return for your support I'll hand-number the bags and write a discreet, personalized thank-you message to you on the bag itself.
Whether or not the show ever comes back, these original Mark Steyn Show bags won't. So now that CRTV's left me holding the bags, we hope you'll consider purchasing one of them: a routine bit of promotional merchandise now rendered, by my firing and the show's cancellation, into a rare collectible sure to enthrall the experts on Antiques Roadshow in the decades to come.
And, to close, another selection of your letters. I liked this one:
So, as for CRTV...I signed on, ($100), voluntarily to CRTV because I was told that if I liked my "Mark Steyn Show" I could keep my "Mark Steyn Show".
Tonight I find out I was lied to.
In the morning I am going to repeal CRTV and I hope that you and your crew can replace it soon.
Thought the Christmas special was the best. Very disappointed that it is no longer part of CRTV.
After reading your column for years on politics, I was surprised by your ability to entertain. I hope your TV show will continue in some format.
I'm in a state of mourning that your show has come to this abrupt end -- for the loss I feel as a viewer -- but also because you are losing this outlet for creative expression.
Much as I love Feline Groovy, I was pleased that you might not have to put doggy tracks on a CD to pay the bills and had a greater opportunity for musical expression and a wider audience. I was entertained and educated by your show – I even bought a small smart TV so I didn't have to watch it on my iPad.
I've cancelled my subscription and am sending you $89 for another SteynOnline gift certificate. Most sincere thanks for enriching my world -- and I hope this is just a disappointing pause, or paws, in a television career that merits a larger stage.
I was very sad tonight to learn that you are no longer going to be on CRTV. You were the main reason I signed up.
I first heard you a few years ago when you were filling in for Rush. I was in awe of your depth of knowledge on everything, your wit, and your terrific sense of humor. Your guest appearances on Rush were never enough so I began searching YouTube for all things Mark Steyn. I was always delighted to find a new speech or bit of commentary. I learned a lot and, despite the seriousness of it all, I laughed a lot.
Just when it looked like I had seen everything ever posted on YouTube, CRTV came along and it was wonderful to have a regular installment from you.
I am going to miss your show very much. I am hoping you will post a video on your website...maybe a regular podcast or something similar. I also love your columns. Your writing is brilliant...just brilliant.
I guess I'm one of countless people at this point, but, since I can't let my money do my talking through CRTV anymore, I've gotta voice my dismay in text:
First, ever since you started hosting for Rush, I was desperate to throw money at you for an ongoing show. As soon as I heard you'd be part of CRTV I threw my money at them. I enjoyed your (variety?) show, but as soon as SteynPosts began, I was overwhelmed with joy - your unvarnished, incredibly insightful, witty, ideological and strident "posts" were marvelous!! They were, of course, like listening to you host your own radio show. Find a way to do them independently and I will throw money at it.
Lastly, since I'm writing: I listen to "conservative" podcasts like crazy, and so many people have lost their way either being desperately for Trump or anti-Trump, but you have somehow managed to thread the needle (in spite of your obvious enthusiasm for Trump) between partisanship and principle, always holding true to the strictest conservative principles, while asking what actually works. Thank you for being such a strident ideologue for what is right, even though it may threaten your pocketbook.
(Ok, last, last: I like everyone else, beg you to let us know what in the world could possibly have broken your relationship with CRTV... It depresses me that this big conservative enterprise has already had such a breakdown. Since I had signed up for your show exclusively, I cancelled and they were good enough to fully refund me, but it still rankles..)
Just cancelled my subscription to CRTV - you quickly became my favorite and the primary show worth watching. also thoroughly enjoy when you guest host for Rush.
Thank you, Mark -
I just want to thank you for mentioning - in your recent post at SteynOnline - my Ricochet post about your show's unfortunate cancelling.
As I wrote later in the comments to that post, I have long been a reader of yours. It was twenty years ago – 1997 – when, on a visit to the UK, I first "discovered" you. You were writing for the Spectator at the time and I read one of your articles after purchasing a copy at a bookstore in London.
I liked your writing so much that I opened up a subscription shortly thereafter (and international subscriptions to the Spectator were rather expensive). Been hooked ever since. Thank you again.
Spokane Valley, Washington
I enjoyed your show on CRTV very much. It's impossible to find another TV show that is so erudite, thought-provoking, witty, and entertaining.
I hope you can continue in some other format. I just received my refund from CRTV, and I'd be happy to plunk down the same sum for The Mark Steyn Show alone.
Before subscribing to CRTV, I hardly knew you, but the month during which I was able to watch your content was nothing short of charmed.
While most of the other content creators at CRTV talk solely about the United States, I could count on you to not only bring a global perspective to the table, but to do so with wit unmatched by most of the commentators that I see today. You were, by a mile, the most entertaining person on the network, and they're going to bleed without you.
Perhaps you and the organization will be on good terms sooner or later, but until then (and even after), Viva Steyn!
PS: Go solo and I'd definitely watch you.
I am absolutely stunned and saddened that your show was cancelled. It was the highlight of my evening, and I hope you will return in a different venue soon.
I subscribed to crtv because of you, I love your charm and wit, and I even purchased two gift subscriptions because of your program. It is a reminder that nothing lasts forever, but this stint was way too short!
I too canceled my CRTV subscription after hearing about your cancellation. You are simply the smartest and wittiest person on the planet. I mean that sincerely.
Add my voice to the chorus of those who are canceling their CRTV subscription. I too signed up only for The Mark Steyn Show. I am so disappointed!