Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ensuring That 2006 Is Even A Greater Entertainment Disaster than 2005

Networks cancel '7th Heaven,' 'Arrested'
Friday November 11 7:12 AM ET

The Camdens will bid farewell to viewers in May when the WB Network's top-rated family drama "7th Heaven" ends its run after 10 seasons in what sources said was largely a cost-cutting move.

The Bluth clan of Fox's ratings-challenged "Arrested Development" is also headed for the exit after Fox cut the third-season order on the Emmy-winning comedy to 13 episodes.

Also getting the ax at Fox is "Arrested's" companion on Monday, the freshman comedy "Kitchen Confidential," whose order will not be extended beyond the initial 13 episodes.

"7th Heaven," whose debut on August 26, 1996, marked the first-ever Monday broadcast of the then-fledging WB Network, will bow out as the longest-running family drama on television.

After 10 seasons, the show is still a top draw for WB, averaging 5.1 million viewers this season to date. Creatively, the show also will go out in style, creator Brenda Hampton said.

"I think this is the best season we've ever had, and we're planning a very exciting and heartwarming conclusion to the series," she said. "On the show, we talk about choosing your feelings, and we chose to feel happy and blessed to have been on the air for so long."

There is talk about a potential "7th Heaven" spinoff, but Hampton admits that would be hard to do.

"('7th Heaven') is a family show," she said. "I think the success of the show is that the family is intact with the mom, the dad and the children, so it is a very difficult show to spin off."

Sources indicated that the reasons to take "7th Heaven" off the air were primarily financial. As series age, they get more and more expensive, with the price tag especially high for a show with a large cast like "7th Heaven." The cancellation of the long-running series also comes during a process of extensive cost-cutting across all Warner Bros. divisions.

As for the demise of "Arrested," it comes just as the acclaimed comedy came back this week after a hiatus to make room for Fox's baseball coverage. The two back-to-back episodes averaged a paltry 4 million viewers Monday, sending Fox to fifth place in the 8 p.m. hour and putting a dent on the ratings of its lead-out, the rookie drama "Prison Break."

There is a possibility that the show will be shopped around, but its high cost is expected to be prohibitive for a cable network.

Fox said Thursday that it will pull "Arrested Development" and "Kitchen Confidential" off the schedule for the remaining three Mondays of the November sweep, replacing them with a rerun of the previous episode of "Prison Break" leading into an original episode of the serialized drama.

"Arrested" and "Kitchen" are set to return to their time slots with original episodes December 5, following the fall finale of "Prison Break" on November 28.


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