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NBC pulls the plug on ‘Quarterlife’

Internet drama could resurface on Bravo

“Quarterlife” has made a hasty exit from NBC, but is likely to resurface on Bravo later this year.

After one woefully low-rated airing Tuesday night, Peacock has tabled plans to run five additional episodes of the Marshall Herskovitz-Ed Zwick show, originally produced as a Web serial for viewing in eight- to 10-minute bites. NBC Universal reps indicated the show would be re-routed to cabler Bravo.

Peacock picked up “Quarterlife” for broadcast play in mid-December, when the TV biz was stuck in the quagmire of the writers strike. NBC characterized the deal as an experiment, citing the pedigree that the low-budget (by broadcast TV standards) production had in being shepherded by Herskovitz and Zwick. The license fee that NBC paid for the rights was considerably less than the going rate for even modestly budgeted drama series.

“Quarterlife” bowed Nov. 11 as a Web serial distribbed by MySpace and its dedicated quarterlife.com website. Segs of the serial have regularly drawn about 100,000 views; Tuesday’s 10 p.m. premiere of the hourlong version on NBC pulled in 3.1 million viewers, marking the network’s lowest ratings in the slot in years.

“Of course it’s a disappointment,” Herskovitz told Daily Variety. “There’s no way to look at that and not say it’s a disappointment.”

Herskovitz acknowledged that he’d had his doubts about whether the show would work on network TV.

“We live in a world where success can be defined in many ways,” he said, noting that a show with much lower ratings can be considered a hit on cable.

Herskovitz added that he was grateful to NBC and programming chief Ben Silverman for being game enough to try and for giving the show “energetic support.”

“Quarterlife” had been set to move to the Sunday 9 p.m. slot as of next week. To fill that void, NBC will run a seg of “Deal or No Deal,” followed the next two weeks by repeats of “Law & Order.”

(Diane Garrett contributed to this report.)

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