'Heaven,' 'Donnellys,' others get the axe
It was a Bloody Monday in TV land as the nets delivered bad news to the casts and crews of several skeins, including “The Wedding Bells,” “Six Degrees,” “7th Heaven” and “The Black Donnellys.”Prognosis was a bit more upbeat for some skeins, with NBC slotting “The Real Wedding Crashers” in a primo slot behind “Heroes” and the CW finally confirming a home for long-delayed drama “Hidden Palms.” First, the bad news. “Bells,” from David E. Kelley, has halted production and will air at least one more time. Comedic drama had a rough Friday, averaging a 1.4/5 in the demo. Fox will keep “Bells” on the air this week; net had already planned to preempt it next week for a run of “White Chicks.” It’s unlikely “Bells” will return after that. Seven episodes of “Bells” had been produced when the call was made on Monday to shut the show down. “Bells” had an unusual trek to the air: Kelley was called into duty and asked to rework an old ABC pilot to replace another wedding-themed show — “The Wedding Album” — which had originally been ordered to air but was ultimately axed. “While we’ve been pleased with the show creatively, and David’s writing was first-rate, the show just didn’t secure the ratings we’d hoped for,” a Fox spokesman said. Also on the chopping block: ABC’s “Six Degrees,” which is off the air immediately. “Six Degrees” was deep sixed after viewers completely ignored the show’s return to the Alphabet web two weeks ago. Show averaged a 1.1 rating/4 share among adults 18-49 in its final airing on Friday, leading ABC to a rough fifth-place finish among the broadcast webs. “Wife Swap” repeats will now air in the Friday 9 p.m. spot. Then there’s the case of the bouncing “Notes From the Underbelly” scheduling. Confirmed just a week ago for the juicy post-“Grey’s Anatomy” slot on Thursday nights, “Underbelly” now has yet another new home: Wednesdays at 8:30, behind “According to Jim.” “Underbelly” will still premiere in the Thursday 10 p.m. spot, with back-to-back episodes on April 12. But the show will then move to its regular Wednesday slot the following week on April 18. That’s because the Alphabet web has been pleasantly surprised by “October Road,” which performed well Thursday despite airing behind a “Grey’s Anatomy” repeat. Rather than rock the boat, ABC will now bring “Road” back for its final two episodes on April 19 and 26. Over at NBC, net will yank Paul Haggis-Bobby Moresco drama “The Black Donnellys” from its posh Monday-night perch in order to make room for its new reality take on “Wedding Crashers.” “Donnellys” had been slated to air most of its 13-seg run at 10 p.m. Mondays. Assuming NBC doesn’t pull the plug sooner, “Donnellys” will end April 16, getting to air just eight episodes on Mondays — with only two of those segs airing behind original episodes of “Heroes.” Drama hasn’t fared well in the ratings recently. Despite a solid “Deal or No Deal” lead-in, last week’s seg sank to third place in the 10 p.m. hour, losing even to the season finale of “What About Brian.” What’s bad for “Donnellys” is good for “Crashers,” however. Skein, a cross between “Punk’d” and “Beauty and the Geek,” will bow Monday, April 23, at 10 p.m. It will follow the premiere episode of the third installment in the first season of “Heroes.” There had been talk that “Crashers” would air Sunday nights. But Peacock execs liked early episodes of the show and decided it deserved to get a crack at the post-“Heroes” timeslot. Katalyst Films and New Line Television are producing “Crashers.” As for “Hidden Palms,” the CW had hoped to debut the mystery drama in January or March but decided to spare it from the “American Idol” machine. Now, “Palms” will bow Wednesday, May 30, at 8 p.m. Net has eight original episodes in the can and said it has options on the cast that will allow it to return if it shows a pulse. The CW is pairing “Palms” with three original segs of “One Tree Hill.” Skein returns from hiatus May 2 at 9 p.m. and will remain in originals through mid-June. Meanwhile, the CW has pulled the plug on “7th Heaven” — again. Network on Monday confirmed that the long-running drama, which outlived its original home of the WB, will not be back next season. CW execs made a similar pronouncement a year ago, then changed their minds and brought the show back for another season. “Heaven’s” death is also notable since the show is the last remaining network series to be exec produced by the late Aaron Spelling. Skein has done respectable numbers in its new Sunday timeslot. While way down from its glory years, skein has averaged 3.4 million viewers and a 1.9 rating with women 18-34. “Heaven” will go to TV heaven on Sunday, May 13, at 8 p.m.
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