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Starved for ratings, these shows might end early

”Millennium,” ”Cupid,” and ”Brimstone” may not make it to their intended conclusion

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ABC’s Cupid and Fox’s Brimstone and Millennium are running out of time. Literally: Each show has a finite lifespan. But they’re also among TV’s least watched, which means that like Star Trek, whose five-year mission ended after three low-rated seasons, they may not reach their natural ends. Here’s who’s on the clock.

SHOW Brimstone PREMISE Deceased cop Ezekiel Stone (Peter Horton) must catch 113 runaway demons to get to heaven. For every one nabbed, a tattoo disappears from Stone’s flesh. ETA By episode 7, Stone will have erased six tattoos. At this rate, his mission will end after six seasons — around May 2004. PROGNOSIS Can an average of 5.9 million viewers last through 113 demons? ”I’m optimistic,” says coexec producer Ethan Reiff, ”but right now we’re just hoping to catch one season’s worth.”

SHOW Cupid PREMISE Believing he’s the Greek god Cupid and he’s been cast off Mt. Olympus, Trevor Hale (Jeremy Piven) must unite 100 couples to get back into Zeus’ good graces. ETA On the show, the tally is unclear. But exec producer Rob Thomas, who says he needs 100 episodes for syndication, is counting. PROGNOSIS Despite an average of 6.2 million viewers, ABC has ordered a full season. However, if canceled later, says Thomas, there might be one big rush in the last episode — ”like a big Moonie festival.”

SHOW Millennium PREMISE As investigator Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) battles the mysterious Millennium Group, incidents of horrendous evil mount as the year 2000 nears. ETA Black has roughly 400 more days, or about 33 original episodes, before the show will seem, well, dated. PROGNOSIS ”The good series have a way of surviving,” says coexec producer Ken Horton. But the show, averaging 6.9 million viewers, can thank creator Chris Carter, whom Fox wants to keep happy.