Black Friday has claimed another victim with numerous sites reporting that the NBC National Heads-up Championship will not be held in 2012. After seven seasons on NBC, Sports Senior Director of Communications Adam Freifeld has confirmed that the event has been cancelled but NBC has not ruled out the possibility of it returning in the future.
The invitational event at Caesars Palace was a popular staple of the tournament circuit, which pitted 64 of the world’s best players against each other in a single-elimination heads-up format. Phil Hellmuth won the inaugural event in 2005 and was followed by notable winners such as Ted Forrest (2006), Paul Wasicka (2007), Chris Ferguson (2008), Huck Seed (2009), Annie Duke (2010) and Erik Seidel (2011).
In addition to top-notch pros, the tournament also attracted a number of celebrities and sports personalities including Emmitt Smith, James Woods, Shannon Elizabeth, Don Cheadle, Brad Garrett, Jason Alexander, Orel Hershiser, Rene Angelil, Jerry Buss and Gabe Kaplan.
Much of the show’s advertising came from PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, both of which were forced out of the US market back in April. Ratings for the program have also been steadily declining since their peak in 2007, though the numbers were respectable. This is the third major televised poker show to be axed in the wake of Black Friday. Earlier this year, NBC also cancelled the late-night Poker After Dark and Fox ended the PokerStars Big Game.