Net sweeps out 'Kitchen,' 'Development'

“Arrested Development” may have finally played its last get out of jail free card.

Fox has cut back its episode order on one of TV’s most critically praised shows to just 13 segs, down from 22. Skein, from 20th Century Fox TV and creator Mitch Hurwitz, has also been pulled from the schedule for the rest of the month, another sign that the network may have finally given up on trying to bring an audience to the show.

News was nearly as grim for “Arrested’s” Monday night companion, the Darren Star-produced “Kitchen Confidential.” It’s also been pulled for sweeps, and producers have been told the show won’t be getting a full-season pickup.

On the positive tip, ABC has given a full-season pickup to Warner Bros. TV-produced frosh laffer “Freddie.” Skein has consistently built on its adults 18-49 lead-in since bowing last month.

As for “Arrested,” skein returned from a month’s hiatus this week, while “Kitchen” was slated to return Monday. Despite tough competition from a high-rated “Monday Night Football” matchup, “Arrested” performed about as well as it had been in the timeslot before baseball. Ratings for “Prison Break,” however, took a notable dip, which is what likely prompted worried Fox execs to reverse their previous plan to keep “Arrested” on the air through year’s end.

Instead of the two laffers, Fox will air repeats of drama “Prison Break” in the 8-9 p.m. Monday slot for the rest of the sweep.

“Arrested” and “Kitchen” will return to the sked Dec. 5. Come January, net is expected to stick with its original plan of moving “House” into the Monday-at-8 slot.

Fox wasn’t commenting Thursday, and for now, nobody’s using the word “cancellation.” But in the case of “Arrested,” the handwriting appears to be on the wall.

“Arrested” is in the middle of its third season.

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