Fox winging ‘Angel’ out, ‘Firefly’ in

Whedon-produced skein to lead into mystery 'John Doe'

NEW YORK — “Dark Angel” has gone to TV heaven.

Despite indications earlier this week that the Jessica Alba starrer would be returning for a third season, Fox has decided to pull the plug on the sci-fi actioner. Its 8 p.m. Friday slot will be filled by the new Joss Whedon-produced space Western “Firefly,” which had been teetering between a fall and midseason berth.

Both “Dark Angel” and “Firefly” come from 20th Century Fox TV.

“Firefly” will lead into the new mystery drama “John Doe” at 9. Latter skein, along with “Firefly” and “Dark Angel,” had been competing for two drama slots on Fox’s new Friday night sked. Rest of the lineup had already been finalized (Daily Variety, May 13).

While Whedon had produced a two-hour pilot for “Firefly,” it’s now expected Fox will ask Whedon to come up with an hourlong kickoff to the series.

Fox officially unveils its new lineup today. New sked boasts four new dramas and two new comedies, along with the sketch variety skein “The Cedric Show” and the reality half-hours “30 Minutes to Fame” and “Meet the Marks.” Latter reality skeins, along with the drama “Septuplets,” won’t bow until winter.

In other upfront news, 20th Century Fox TV has come on board as a co-producer of Universal’s “The Grubbs.”