In Depth

It's a Wrap for 'Montel' at End of Season

After 17 years on the air, “The Montel Williams Show” is preparing for its grand finale. Barring a reversal by distributor CBS Television Distribution, "Montel" will depart the airwaves following this season.

CBS TV Distribution will offer 260 episodes of the best of "Montel" to stations for fall 2008.

Fox stations, which carried the series in the country’s top two markets, declined to renew the series, according to multiple executives attending the National Association of Television Program Executives convention in Las Vegas.

"We've been honored to have Montel as part of the CBS family for the past 17 years, and we're very excited that 'Montel' will live on through best-of episodes," said John Nogawski, president of the CBS Television Distribution Group. "Stations continue to embrace Montel and his message of social responsibility that has been the cornerstone of his show."

In an interview last year, Mr. Williams alluded to a career change in his future and discussed becoming a full-time actor.

The series is averaging a 1.5 national Nielsen rating this season, down 12% from the same period in the 2006-07 television season. At the top of its game, “The Montel Williams Show” peaked with a 4.4 score during the 1996-97 season.

The off-syndication "Montel" episodes are being offered to stations as well as potential cable outlets without barter. Currently, stations give up 3 1/2 minutes of ad time.

"If they can't make that work, I'd be shocked," said Mr. Nogawski. "This is a chance for the industry to open up its vaults and turn our built-up content into an asset."

11:35: Updated number of seasons in first paragraph