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A&E’S ‘Nero’ down to zero

Skein unable to continue due to pricey prod'n designs, license fees

NEW YORK — High production costs and low ratings have spelled doom for A&E’s “Nero Wolfe,” starring Timothy Hutton. The cabler has cancelled the weekly hourlong period detective series after two seasons.

“Wolfe” averaged a subpar 1.134 million households for eight episodes this summer (May 27 through Aug. 18), and disastrous 387,000 adults 18-49.

Although shot in Toronto, “Nero Wolfe” cost $1.1 million an episode, as production designers had to build sets replicating 1930s New York interiors. A&E’s license fee hovered around a pricey $700,000 per episode.

What’s more, although A&E pointed to favorable reviews by some TV critics, Emmy Awards voters failed to deliver even one nomination to “Wolfe” last month.

Word got out among “Wolfe” fans late last week that the show was not coming back. In response, A&E hung a notice on its Web site praising producers Jaffe-Braunstein and thanking viewers for their support but pointing to the realities of a tough business that could not sustain another season of “Nero Wolfe.”