On the Air
Cue Pomp and Circumstance: Felicity will not only bid farewell to the University of New York this May, she’ll also say buh-bye to prime-time TV. The WB has decided not to renew the four-year-old show for next year. ”One of the joys of the series was this coming-of-age story about Felicity Porter in college,” says WB Entertainment president Jordan Levin. ”It’s the end of her senior year. It felt like a natural place to close the story.” Not to mention a financially prudent one. The WB is paying close to $1 million per episode for a show that averages a mere 3.3 million viewers (it used to be one of the net’s top performers in young demographics). What’s more, the show lost its stride when creator J.J. Abrams relinquished hands-on control of the series to create Alias for ABC. ”J.J.’s always been the voice of Felicity,” Levin admits. ”There has been a ratings slip with the loss of his presence.” Felicity will return to The WB’s schedule on March 20 and will wrap May 22 with a two-hour season finale—when Levin promises Felicity (Keri Russell) will resolve her relationship issues with Noel (Scott Foley) and Ben (Scott Speedman). Come to think of it, a menage a trois sure would make a jaw-dropping series capper.
Psychic John Edward is ready to cross over to series television. The popular host of the I-talk-to-dead-people show, Crossing Over (the No. 1 new syndicated series), will team with Studios USA to develop a drama about a doctor who discovers he has psychic powers (no debut date or network has been set). But don’t expect some seance-filled spookfest like NBC’s failed 2000 series The Others (not to be confused with Nicole Kidman’s successful cinematic chiller), because Edward is determined to steer clear of the usual paranormal cliches. ”I’m going to work my hardest to make this as non-Twilight Zone-esque as possible,” says Edward, who believes previous shows about psychic phenomena have been too stereotypically hokey. ”I’m looking to tap into everyday lives, so viewers can identify with experiences that our characters are having. If a character is flying or battling some type of evil demonic force in hell, I’m not sure the average viewer at home is going to relate.” Unless, of course, it involves the in-laws.
Talk about going undetected: Although NYPD Blue has moved from a 10 p.m. time slot to 9 p.m. this season, the smut police haven’t made a peep about the show’s usual grittiness airing smack-dab in the heart of prime time. But creator Steven Bochco is not surprised that expletives like SOB or a — hole haven’t caused an uproar. Argues Bochco: ”Everybody knows what NYPD Blue is. It’s in the ninth year. The show has such an identity that no one is going to tune in and be surprised. In fact, I think you could put Blue on at 7 p.m. and no one would bat an eye.” Still, Blue — which averages a respectable 13.5 million viewers despite losing out to NBC’s Frasier and Scrubs each week — could probably use the controversy. After all, the show has yet to receive a pickup by ABC for next year. Bring on the naked booty of Mark-Paul Gosselaar!