The good news is that struggling NBC sitcom “Joey” won't have to go up against FOX juggernaut “American Idol” this January. The bad news is that the show is being yanked from the schedule for a serious “retooling.” Not good, considering the show was seriously retooled at the beginning of the season. (Perhaps now Joey will be a fry cook in Alaska?) The ejection of “Joey” from NBC's Thursday night schedule until at least March is one of the most high-profile failures of the Fall 2005 season, but it's hardly the only one.
FOX, which canceled the doomed “Head Cases” after two episodes, has scaled back production on “Arrested Development” and “Kitchen Confidential” to a mere 13 episodes. “Arrested” and “Kitchen”--both recipients of some critical acclaim--are extremely unlikely to get additional episode orders and are all but officially canceled. With ratings darlings “24” and “American Idol” premiering in January, FOX needed to clear some space on the schedule. The net even went so far as to sideline the highly successful “Prison Break” for several months until a new American Idol is crowned. The network also recently booted its freshman drama “Reunion.” Fans hoping for some closure on the flashback-saturated mystery are SOL. “Because the events of Samantha's murder are partially reliant on characters we haven't met yet--and events we haven't seen--there is no way to solve the mystery of her murder without being able to complete the full arc of our story through present day. I greatly regret that this question along with many others that this series posed will remain unsolved,” executive producer Jon Feldman said in a statement. The final (pointless, I guess) episode of “Reunion” will air on Feb. 2.
ABC, meanwhile, has dumped its Friday night sitcom “Hot Properties” for pulling in a mere 5.9 million viewers to date this season. It's unclear if remaining episodes in the initial 13-episode order will air. In mid-November, the network yanked the horror drama “Night Stalker”--not much of a shock after the show registered a series-low of just 3.94 million viewers.
Across the dial, CBS has rolled back its commitment to Wednesday night's “Still Standing” to 18 episodes. Earlier in November, CBS rolled back fellow Wednesday night comedy “Yes, Dear” to just 13 installments--which portends a sea change for the network's midweek schedule. After bumping it around the schedule for a bit, the Eye Network also pulled the plug on freshman drama “Threshold.” The alien invasion series couldn't gain much ground against similar shows “Invasion” and “Surface” and was pulled off the air for all of November, so the cut hardly comes as a surprise. The show's remaining four episodes will not be aired.
On the plus side, we'll have plenty of brand new sitcoms, dramas and reality shows to not watch when the midseason replacement season starts in January.