Move leads cabler with three hourlong melodramas

NEW YORK — Lifetime has canceled its second-longest-running scripted series “The Division,” from Viacom Prods., after four years and 88 episodes.

The shutting down of “Division” leaves Lifetime with three weekly hourlong melodramas: “Strong Medicine,” now in its fifth season; “Wild Card,” in its second year; and “Missing,” also in its sophomore year.

While Lifetime delivered bad news to “The Division,” it boosted Lions Gate’s “Missing” by commissioning five more episodes to swell its second-season total to 18, the same number of hours as the show’s first season. “Wild Card,” starring Joely Fisher as an insurance investigator, got its 18-episode pickup six months ago.

“Missing,” which is averaging a healthy 2.2 million total viewers season to date, has successfully navigated the perils of replacing a series lead after the first season, substituting Vivica A. Fox for Gloria Reuben. Fox plays an FBI agent whose partner (played by Caterina Scorsone) is a psychic.

“Division” has fallen off by about 20% this season to an average viewership of 2 million compared with the 2.5 million total viewers it was chalking up during same period in 2003.

Created by Deborah Joy Levine, “Division” takes place in a San Francisco precinct house whose captain (played by Bonnie Bedelia) and most of the inspectors were women. A spokesman for Lifetime said the network has made no decision yet about whether to buy the 88 rerun episodes.

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