Warners dismisses `Moral Court’

May 28, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Graduation rates remained low among the syndicated freshman class.
Warner Bros. informed producers last week that despite a fight to bring back freshman courtroom strip “Moral Court” for another go-round, the company has opted to pull the plug on the series due to a clearance and ratings shortage. The series starred radio personality Larry Elder.
The series hovered just below a 1.0 rating for most of the season, and WB Domestic Television Distribution President Dick Robertson made an eleventh-hour attempt to keep it on the air. However, the effort was unsuccessful, and “Moral Court” will now join a slew of other freshman series in TV trivia pages.
Two other series from the studio’s Telepictures arm had also been on the bubble for most of the season. Rookie game show “Street Smarts” now seems set to come back, thanks to its leading the pack in some demographic categories. The series floats around the 2.0 mark among households and will be given the go-ahead once deals are confirmed in Chicago and New York. Much of the rest of the country is already locked in for the fall.
The other series on the fence, sophomore “Queen Latifah,” is likely to get the ax, according to sources, largely due to its being dropped by Fox owned-and-operated stations, while precious time slots have already been filled on the other major market station groups. The series is on par with its performance last year at a 1.2 household rating.
Already canceled this season have been the two freshman Paramount Domestic Television series-“Dr. Laura” and “Queen of Swords”-as well as veteran court show “Judge Mills Lane” and reality strip “Real TV.” King World Productions pulled the plug on its own freshman court show “Curtis Court,” which will join weekly late-night hour “Cindy Margolis” on the shelf next season.
Columbia TriStar Television Distribution was unable to secure renewals on the NBC O&Os and will yank rookie talk show “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” from the lineup. Buena Vista and Studios USA had their own misses with “HouseCalls” and “Lover or Loser,” which were the first two strips to be canceled this season.
New series that will be renewed include the two top new series among strips and weekly shows, Twentieth Television’s “Power of Attorney” and Tribune Entertainment’s “Andromeda.” Other strips to make the cut include Columbia TriStar’s “Judge Hatchett” and Pearson’s game show “To Tell the Truth.”
Returning weekly fare includes Columbia’s “Sheena” and Paramount’s reality-driven “Maximum Exposure.” Studios USA is still pressing for the return of “Arrest & Trial” but has yet to find a national outlet to replace the stations owned by Chris-Craft Industries, which opted not to renew earlier in the year.