Smith will be resurrected in series of specials

Her weekly show may be dead, but E! is staying in the Anna Nicole Smith business.

After more than seven months in limbo, weekly series “The Anna Nicole Show” finally got the news that it’s dead. Smith, however, is being resurrected in a set of E! specials, with the first slated to air this month.

One-hour expose “Anna Nicole Bares All” bows Feb. 22. Cameras will follow Smith as she prepares for her first runway job in years for New York’s Fashion Week.

The spec will feature Smith’s new slimmed-down look as well as her thoughts on the first two seasons of her show. Production begins this week.

Ranking as the channel’s highest-rated series during its run, “Anna Nicole” bowed to a boffo 4 million viewers in August 2002. While the show’s second-season average fell 51% from the first, skein was a strong performer for E!, drawing an average 710,000 viewers in adults 18-49.

However, the decision not to renew the show was made during the second season, said Mark Sonnenberg, E! exec VP of entertainment.

“The show, creatively, was not where we wanted it to be,” he said. “Based on the ratings alone, the answer would have been yes (to a third season). We just think a series of specials is a better way to present Anna.”

No plans have yet been set for the next spec, but Sonnenberg noted they may unspool quarterly, depending on Smith’s schedule and level of interest.

Jeff Shore is exec producer of the show; Marcus Fox is co-exec producer. Show starred Smith, her lawyer Howard K. Stern, her teenage son Daniel, her assistant Kim and her dog Sugarpie. The first season of “The Anna Nicole Show” was released on DVD by Lions Gate in November.

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