‘Heights’ sinks to sidelines

Fox Broadcasting Co. is yanking “The Heights” from its plum Thursday slot and replacing the Spelling TV hour with repeats of “In Living Color” and the frosh sitcom “Down the Shore,” creating an all-comedy block.

The changes, effective Dec. 3, could be a stopgap measure and it’s possible the weblet may throw another drama into the hour after the first of the year.

Fox has yet to say when it will premiere its Tuesday lineup, composed of dramas “Class of ’96” and “Key West,” and could move the former to Thursday, with the Robert De Niro-produced anthology “Tribeca” another candidate for either night.

“The Heights” has averaged a poor 5.7 rating, 9 share in Nielsen for 10 airings despite a solid lead-in from new comedy “Martin.” The show’s final airing in its current time period will be Thanksgiving night.

Ironically, the ensemble drama about a blue-collar musical group has produced a hit single, “How Do You Talk to an Angel,” while failing to catch on in the ratings. Fox said the show will go on hiatus and that no decision has been made as to ordering additional segments.

As for the Thursday shift, Fox didn’t want to throw a new series against “Cheers” but feels there is an opportunity for “Down the Shore” at 9:30 and that “In Living Color” repeats would provide some flow into it. “Shore,” from HBO Independent Prods., premiered last June.

The “In Living Color” repeats will be culled from the show’s first season, and new episodes will continue in the show’s regular Sunday time period. That series is produced by Twentieth TV, which, like Fox Broadcasting Co., is a division of Fox Inc.

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