Those crazy execs at ABC have stuck a straitjacket on new drama “Wonderland,” yanking it after just two episodes.
The series, which special-interest groups charged inaccurately portrayed mental illness, averaged a 4 rating among adults 18-49 and 10.3 million viewers in its two airings.
That’s lower than the show it replaced, “20/20 — Downtown,” which had begun to post some strong perfs in the post-“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” Thursday night slot opposite “ER.”
Segs in lockdown
ABC will air an episode of ABC News’ “Vanished” on Thursday before bringing back “20/20 — Downtown” next week. Six episodes of “Wonderland” remain on the shelf; the network has no plans yet to air the remaining segs.
“Wonderland” came from exec producer-writer-director Peter Berg and Imagine Television. Shot in New York, the show followed the lives of doctors at a psychiatric hospital. The skein was shot documentary-style and included actor improvisation.
Following a protest by the Virginia-based National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, a few advertisers opted out of the show after its first and second airings.
In a statement, NAMI said the show “reduces people with mental illness to caricatures or stereotypes “subjects of humor or derision.” ABC argued Berg and the show’s writers heavily researched the program at a New York hospital and spent time with psychiatrists.
Other midseason skeins are also on the block this week. It’s do-or-die time for NBC sitcom “Battery Park,” which will probably be pulled Friday unless it suddenly gets energized Thursday night.
Meanwhile, NBC announced Tuesday it has officially renewed the sitcom “Just Shoot Me” for next year. The Universal Studios Network Programming skein will enter its fifth season this fall. “Just Shoot Me” has averaged a 6.1 rating among adults 18 to 49 since moving to the post-“Will & Grace” Tuesday night slot in February. That’s an improvement over the fall, when the show averaged only a 4.3 rating at 8 on that night.
Columbia TriStar Television Distribution is expected to be out selling the sitcom in the coming months for a fall 2001 off-network syndie launch.