Opie and Jim Norton with guests Lita Ford and Chris Distefano
This past weekend on Twitter, Gregg “Opie” Hughes, current host of Opie with Jim Norton and one half of former radio show The Opie and Anthony Show, sent out some cryptic tweets that seem to indicate that the show had broadcast its last episode without so much as a goodbye.
“Silly Matt, I don’t do that show anymore,” Opie tweeted in response to a fan, referring to the show he has hosted with Norton ever since Anthony Cumia was fired from SiriusXM in 2014. Shortly after this article was written, another tweet went up, clarifying slightly. “Don’t do that show anymore, so I guess they have the right to do whatever they want. Looking at my options and have no contract at this time” he wrote responding to another fan complaining about best of material airing during the show’s early a.m. time slot.
There has been rampant speculation for some time now that the show would end in October when its hosts contracts were up, and widespread rumors that Opie and co-host Jim Norton suffer from irreconcilable differences have only helped to fuel that fire. That the two don’t see eye to eye isn’t necessarily a sign that the show is doomed — Opie and Anthony managed to make their show work for years despite the fact that they didn’t get along — but it certainly doesn’t bode well for the show’s future. If the rumors are true, and Opie and Norton are parting ways so unceremoniously after 15 years on the radio together, then that’s a grim sign of just how bad things have gotten behind the scenes.
Silly Matt…I don't do that show anymore https://t.co/uSvUGL359v
— opie radio (@OpieRadio) September 26, 2016
Don't do that show anymore so I guess they have the right to do whatever they want. Looking at my options and have no contract at this time https://t.co/hqrc9SqWVV
— opie radio (@OpieRadio) September 26, 2016
No official announcement has been made that the show is indeed over, but Opie’s tweets seem to make the writing on the wall pretty clear. Whether either host plans to return to do shows on the platform separately remains to be seen. While addressing the rumors surrounding his contract on Sunday, Opie tweeted out a 7-minute long video of waves crashing on the beach, only further fueling the speculation that he’s preparing to retire altogether.
— opie radio (@OpieRadio) September 25, 2016
The two year history of the Opie with Jim Norton Show has been many things; smooth is not one of them. In that time, Opie and Norton had an awkward confrontation on air that seems to have permanently affected their relationship, and Opie has been the subject of criticism from former “fans” who believe he should have quit SiriusXM when Cumia was fired. While the show has enjoyed some great episodes with some great guests, that negativity and problems have been hovering over the show.
Opie’s had a lot of absences from the show recently and it’s likely that the radio host was using up all of his saved vacation days in preparation for the end of his contract, which appears to be up within the first week of October. Considering the fact that he’s been known to be vague and create an element of suspense out of the contract negotiation process over the years, (or dragged it out depending on your perspective), this isn’t exactly surprising. However, the fact that Norton’s contract has also ended, and that the comic insinuated many months back that he’d be leaving the show once that happened, is fueling the rumor mill even more so than usual. Norton has, on the days that Opie has been out of the studio, recorded shows with Sam Roberts and some fellow comics under the title Jim Norton and Friends and The Morning Jam with Jim and Sam, so the idea that Norton could be in line to inherit his own show on the channel isn’t too far-fetched. In fact, he tweeted he’ll be doing one of those shows with Sam on Tuesday morning, where more information could be forthcoming.
Vote for your favorite name for my show tomorrow with @notsam! Make sure to tune in for guaranteed fun! And Uncle Paul.
— Jim Norton (@JimNorton) September 26, 2016
If Opie is planning his own show, or looking for a new partner (as former co-host Anthony Cumia has speculated on his own show), there have yet to be any official announcements, but it seems likely we’ve heard the last of The Opie with Jim Norton Show.
So, what do Opie’s tweets mean? They could be interpreted to mean that Opie plans to spend his days relaxing in front of the ocean i.e. retirement for the 20+ year radio veteran. It could also be taken to mean that whatever he’s doing next at SiriusXM (or elsewhere), he’s doing it alone or with some as-yet-unseen new co-host.
Whichever it is, Opie is having fun dangling the carrot and keeping the fans guessing.