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''Dawson's Creek'' will cut back on its scandalous plotlines

Creator Kevin Williamson is leaving the show and so is the soap opera-style melodrama

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James Van Der Beek
Van der Beek: Marc Kayne

If ”Dawson’s Creek” seemed more like ”Melrose Place” last season (what with Dawson going on a drinking jag, his dad going after a younger woman, Pacey’s girlfriend, Andie, going wacko, and the teens’ hangout going up in flames), fear not. As the show heads into its second full season, the plan is to go back to its less melodramatic roots.

”It will definitely return to a first-season sensibility,” promises WB executive VP Jordan Levin. ”’Dawson’ will have something to say instead of the cast reacting to bigger-than-life plots.”

Gone is creator Kevin Williamson, who, besides his movie work (”Scream”), has created ABC’s new drama ”Wasteland.” Although it’s unusual for a creator to leave a show so early in its run, Williamson’s hectic life was taking its toll. ”I was starting to crash and burn,” he says. ”It’s best I’m not part of it this year.”

Williamson agrees the show was getting ”too soapy,” something he says he never intended. As for life without ”Dawson,” he expects some withdrawal. ”It’ll be hard,” he admits. ”But I’m never too far away.” Paul Stupin remains as exec producer, with Alex Gansa (”Maximum Bob”) and Tammy Ader (”Party of Five”) helping to fill the void left by Williamson.

Of course, while trying to stay the keeping-it-real course, they’ll have to find a way to write in teenybopper Britney Spears, who’s set to splash into the ”Creek” this season. Maybe aspiring director Dawson will start shooting music videos.