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The Daily
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WISC-TV pulls the plug on The Urban Theater
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Aaron Williams performs on <i>The Urban Theater</i>
Aaron Williams performs on The Urban Theater
Credit:John Urban

John Urban, host of WISC-TV's late-night local-music show The Urban Theater, today announced that the show will record its final episodes this year.

Five new episodes will be taped in the near future, he wrote in a Facebook post this morning.

An online archive of past episodes is in the works as well, he says.

WISC producer Jill Sommers told Urban the station was canceling the show about two weeks ago.

"I kind of felt it was coming, so I'm not that surprised," he says.

Urban partnered with Sommers and director Al Barcheski to bring the show to fruition. It airs several times a week on WISC and TVW, usually between 11:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.

The Urban Theater began as a 6:30 p.m. variety show in 2000, then evolved into a nighttime program focused on live performances and interviews with Madison-area musicians. It also featured regional artists and the occasional international touring act.

In recent months, the program has hosted live sets by rocker Lucas Cates, political pop band Centime, funk purveyors the Mustache and blues-rock outfit Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo.

One of Urban's favorite moments involved local folk-rockers Corey Hart and Ida Jo.

"They closed the show, and it was one of those performances that was magical," he says. "I can't always watch the show when it airs because I'm hypercritical of myself, but every time I see that song, it gives me chills. I'm proud that we got to record it and share it with people."

Urban says this performance was a prime example of what he loved about the show.

"When you had a good band and good people, it was a tremendous amount of fun," he says.

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