‘Hollyweird’ limbo

Creator Cassidy exits; show off Fox sked

In what appears to be a nasty rift, creator Shaun Cassidy has pulled out of the troubled Fox drama “Hollyweird,” which Fox now confirms will not make it onto the fall schedule.

Fox won’t say yet whether the Studios USA project is now dead, but its chances of finding a midseason home were probably damaged badly by Cassidy’s defiant departure. If “Hollyweird” does go away, it will be just the latest of several projects that have been scrapped after receiving an order from Fox.

“Having spent much of the last year trying to fix something I never viewed as broken in the first place, I am withdrawing from the process of deconstructing ‘Hollyweird,’ ” Cassidy said in a statement. “The pilot that Fox bought was as fresh and original as anything I’ve been involved with.”

After Fox ordered “Hollyweird” and scheduled it for Thursday nights at 9 p.m. this fall, the network decided the show needed to be recast and reconceived. Cassidy said in his statement that the original cast and plot needed no work.

“The creative contributions made by the director, Jefery Levy, and the actors, specifically Fabrizo Fillipo, Melissa George and Bodhi Elfman, were outstanding,” he said. “And my respect for (executive producer) Wes Craven has only grown through this experience. To the many caring and talented people still involved in seeing some form of this show through, I wish them well.”

Fox is expected by today to release a revised fall lineup. Sources say Fox’s other new drama, “Brimstone,” which hasn’t yet replaced its recently departed executive producer, will likely be launched a few weeks late, after the World Series. The summer reality series “Guinness World Records” will likely receive at least a short-term fall slot on Tuesday or Thursday night.

Fox released a short statement in response to Cassidy’s withdrawal. “One can’t help but respect Shaun Cassidy’s passion for ‘Hollyweird.’ It’s unfortunate his insight will no longer help to amplify and build upon an already ambitious series concept. We wish him the best.”

“Hollyweird” isn’t the first project to fall apart after receiving an order from Fox. Last August the comedy “Rewind” was scrapped just weeks before it was set to debut, and this year, the midseason “Dave Chappelle” comedy fell apart after receiving a six-episode order. Fox sitcoms “Secret Service Guy” and “MV24” faced similar fates.

While projects fall apart at other networks all the time as well, some production sources are quietly starting to grumble about the indecision at the network. Sources say top executives frequently change their minds — or face vetoes from higher ups — about important creative aspects of a developing series.

Sources at Fox, however, contend that they simply are seeking to make shows as excellent as possible, and shows that don’t live up to the Fox brand won’t make it onto the air — order or no order.

“Hollyweird” is the second Fox series from Cassidy to run into trouble. Last summer’s “Roar” got off to a strong start, but quickly faded and was not picked up after its summer run.

With “Hollyweird” officially off the fall schedule, Studios USA is down to one new series debuting this fall, ABC’s “Brother’s Keeper.” The studio also has two new midseason series, “Payne” and “Turks.”