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Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls on TV

November 9, 2008 8:30 PM

The clock is ticking for a number of high-profile freshman and sophomore series whose fates are up in the air, including ABC drama “Pushing Daisies” and CBS comedy “Worst Week.” “Daisies,” a critical darling that performed nicely last year, has struggled since it returned to ABC this fall after a long strike-induced hiatus. As of Friday afternoon, the network still hadn’t decided whether to order more episodes of the Warner Bros. TV-produced show, but industry insiders aren’t hopeful about its chances—which means “Pushing Daisies” could soon be, well, pushing daisies.

Pushing Daisies

Creator Bryan Fuller seems to already be preparing for life after “Daisies”; he told Entertainment Weekly’s Web site last week that he’s planning to return to his old home on NBC’s “Heroes” if his show isn’t renewed by mid-January. Nobody at CBS’ “Worst Week” is blabbing to the press about future jobs, and it could still be a while before the network has to make any decisions about the well-reviewed comedy’s fate. The network has ordered four extra scripts beyond the show’s original 13-episode order. While CBS brass like “Worst Week,” the show’s ratings have been stubbornly subpar. Decisions might come sooner for a pair of dramas battling each other at 10 p.m. Thursday: CBS’ “Eleventh Hour” and ABC’s “Life on Mars.” Both got off to so-so starts this fall, but both have been showing signs of growth in recent weeks. Another 10 p.m. drama, ABC’s “Dirty Sexy Money,” also is on the bubble. The network obviously is disappointed that the show has been finishing in third place in its Wednesday time slot, despite a strong lead-in from “Private Practice.” ABC soon will have to decide whether it can find another slot for “Dirty” or if it’s time to move on. Meanwhile, over at NBC, network executives soon will have to make a call on struggling soap “Lipstick Jungle.” The network’s decision to move the show to Fridays with no promotion or advance notice caused the show’s already low ratings to plummet on Oct. 31. If “Lipstick’s” Nov. 7 episode tanks as badly, it could be curtains for the show.

—Josef Adalian


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