‘Grubbs’ gets smaller meal

Prod'n to halt after eighth episode

Here’s news the underachieving family on Fox’s upcoming entry “The Grubbs” can grimly appreciate: The net has reduced its order of the new fall sitcom.

Production will now halt on “The Grubbs” after its eighth episode, which tapes tonight.

Fox had originally ordered 13 segs of the laffer, which revolves around a down-on-their-luck family and the young boy who hopes to escape his brood’s fate.

“The Grubbs,” which comes from Universal Television, Granada and 20th Century Fox TV, premieres Sunday, Nov. 3, after “Malcolm in the Middle.”

Network insiders blamed the reduction on economic reasons, given Fox’s heavy midseason bench strength and the show’s late fall start.

Fox has six to eight episodes of “Wanda at Large” and “The Pitts,” eight episodes each of “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” and “Oliver Beene” and 13 segs of drama “Keen Eddie” all itching for a spot on the schedule.

Then, of course, there’s the return of “American Idol,” which will require an hour-and-a-half of primetime each week come midseason.

Still, the decision to pare back the episodic order before “The Grubbs” even airs doesn’t bode well for the show, which stars Randy Quaid and Carol Kane. Series was recently voted worst new fall series by a poll of TV critics in Daily Variety.

Move comes days after CBS opted to cut its midseason order of talking toddler laffer “Baby Bob,” also because of tight shelf space (Daily Variety, Sept. 23).

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