Fox’s ‘Fling’ flung

Net drops new detective drama before it even airs

Glenn Gordon Caron’s new Fox Broadcasting Co. drama has been canceled before its first broadcast — and before the net even had a chance to schedule it.

Web had ordered 13 episodes of the romance-tinged detective hour last September, committing to the show early as a hedge against possible writers and actors strikes. But after seeing three completed episodes of the Paramount Network Television project — originally titled “When I Grow Up,” and more recently known as “Fling” — the net pulled the plug. Last week’s tentative agreement with the WGA removed any final incentive for Fox continuing with the series.

Neither Par not Fox would comment for the record, but insiders close to the production cited “creative differences” over the show’s direction. One insider said the series simply was not what Fox hoped it would be.

Seven episodes of “Fling,” which stars former “Melrose Place” resident Brooke Langton, had been shot. Fox has given Par the option of shopping the series to other webs; if the studio is unsuccessful, the net will air the completed episodes sometime next season or in the summer. Insiders in both camps declined to discuss the details of any potential financial settlements between Par and Fox.

The “Fling” cancellation is part of a rich Fox tradition of ordering shows and not putting them on the air.

Most recently, the net scheduled a sitcom starring standup Robert Schimmel. A few days after announcing a timeslot for the skein, net announced the show was being pushed to midseason; it was ultimately killed.

Other notable Fox take-backs include the retro-laffer “Rewind” and the thriller “Hollyweird.” A drama developed by Michael Crichton, announced last May, has yet to materialize — mainly because Crichton has yet to come up with a script.