— OUT AND OVER? It’s been less than a year since Ellen DeGeneres generated astronomical ratings with her history-making coming-out episode. But things aren’t so gay for the sitcom star these days. DeGeneres is convinced that ABC — which she claims is put off by the show’s lesbian plotlines in addition to its mediocre Nielsens — will cancel the series. In fact, during last week’s taping, the audience asked DeGeneres whether this was Ellen’s last season, and she replied, ”Yes, it is.”
ABC execs — who insist the only concern they have about the show is its plummeting ratings — say they haven’t decided yet whether the show will return, pointing out that a lot hinges on how Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place (the mid-season replacement temporarily usurping Ellen’s time slot starting March 11) fares ratings-wise. And since the network also has to wait and see how promising its upcoming fall comedies look, a decision is likely to be at least two months away.
But DeGeneres seems to be goading the network into saying ”Enough.” On top of her public complaints about the content warnings ABC has put on the show, DeGeneres also alienated the net when she told Entertainment Tonight that she is ”getting every indication that [ABC is] not picking the show up” because ”I’m gay, the character’s gay, and that’s the problem everyone has with the show — it’s just too controversial.”
— HART TO HART Sabrina, the Teenage Witch creator Paula Hart (mom of star Melissa Joan Hart) is working on a spin-off of the ABC hit starring another one of her daughters, Emily. Melissa’s kid sis would simply expand her recurring Sabrina role — as bratty witch Amanda — into her own show about a spell-deprived sorceress in the Witches Protection Program.
—– WEEKEND UPDATE Fox execs are debating whether to tinker with their powerhouse Sunday-night lineup. One possible scenario: moving King of the Hill to 8 p.m., giving The Simpsons a midseason rest and debuting the new Wayans brother comedy Damon in the King slot. If King proves a worthy lead-in, Fox would consider having it kick off a new night — perhaps even Thursday — next fall.