It’s pretty rare for a cult of ardent fans to be able to save a low-rated TV show; witness the great lengths to which Trekkers went this spring, even raising millions of dollars in production money, in a vain attempt to keep UPN’s Star Trek: Enterprise on the air. Yet fans of Fox’s Arrested Development — including many of the nation’s TV critics — have managed to save the Emmy-winning but little-watched comedy from extinction. After a weekend of rumors, Fox confirmed on Monday that the saga of the eccentric Bluth family will be back for another full season this fall.
For a new network programming chief, it’s a no-brainer to cancel low-rated shows, which he or she can write off as failures of the old regime. But Peter Liguori, the newly minted Fox Broadcasting president of entertainment, made a point of saving the two-year-old sitcom, he said in a statement. ”Arrested Development is one of the best comedies on television. The decision to order another season becomes easy when you consider its amazing cast, creative brilliance, critical acclaim, and advertiser appeal,” he said. ”It’s my first official pick-up since taking the job, and I think it’s a great way to start.”
Fox will unveil its entire fall slate at its annual ”upfront” presentation to advertisers on Thursday in New York. We’ll see then how much ”advertiser appeal” Arrested actually has.