No ‘Action’ for Fox; ABC sked to shift laffers

Slow start affects all webs

Fox has canceled “Action,” the critically acclaimed but low-rated series whose edgy content had been lambasted by some, applauded by others.

“Action” aired its final two episodes on Fox Thursday night. The show wraps production after 13 episodes, eight of which have aired.

Fox will replace the skein with additional episodes of the gameshow “Greed,” Thursdays at 9 p.m.

Auds passive

The Columbia TriStar sitcom, which starred Jay Mohr as egomaniacal film producer Peter Dragon, never managed to attract a significant audience, averaging only 4.9 million viewers.

“Action” took heat before the season even began for its sexual depictions (the lead character received oral sex in one episode) and liberal use of salty language, much of which was bleeped.

But the show’s brutal depiction of the cutthroat world of Hollywood and use of star cameos made the series a favorite among many critics.

Viewers, on the other hand, apparently didn’t warm up to an unlikable lead character.

Fox based much of its fall launch around “Action.” The show’s disappointing premiere results mirrored the network’s difficult fall performance.

Three ‘Millionaire’ hours

Meanwhile, ABC expects to reap ratings riches by skedding “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” three hours a week starting Jan. 11.

The Alphabet web confirmed Thursdays that “Millionaire” will become a regular series airing Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, as expected (Daily Variety, Nov. 30).

“Millionaire” will air for an hour Tuesdays at 8 p.m., bumping “Spin City” to 9:30 p.m. after “Dharma & Greg.”

Thursdays, an hourlong “Millionaire” will air at 9 p.m., facing off with NBC’s “Frasier.” “Whose Line Is It Anyway” will continue for an hour at 8 p.m., while “20/20 Downtown” remains at 10 p.m.

Sundays, “Millionaire” airs at 9 p.m., giving a strong lead-in boost to “The Practice” at 10 p.m.

‘Snoops’ dropped

That means “Millionaire” will replace “Snoops,” which ABC confirmed will cease production after 13 episodes (Daily Variety, Dec. 2).

The network said it would announce other scheduling moves at a later date. The fate of half-hour laffers “Sports Night,” “It’s Like, You Know” and “Oh Grow Up” remains up in the air.

With the network committed to “Two Guys and a Girl,” “The Drew Carey Show” and “Norm,” ABC only has room for one of those three homeless sitcoms on Wednesday night.

Considering it comes from sibling Touchstone/Imagine and remains critically acclaimed, “Sports Night” would seem to have the inside track for the empty slot. But ABC insiders were stressing Thursday that a decision had not been made.

TGIF redo

Also, the network will have to make some decisions regarding its TGIF lineup, now that it’s apparent that the sitcom “Odd Man Out” won’t be continuing.

The network is not expected to debut any of its midseason sitcoms, which include “Talk to Me,” “Then Came You” and “Clerks,” until March.

“Millionaire,” produced by Valleycrest Prods., has averaged 24.2 million viewers.

“‘Millionaire’ provides us with a unique opportunity to dramatically change the landscape of our network,'” said Lloyd Braun, co-chairman, ABC Entertainment Television Group. “This new lineup will maximize the benefits of ‘Millionaire’ on our schedule and hopefully satisfy the public’s appetite for this show.”

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