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Sep 13, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Friday, Sept. 13

Tide turns against FX’s ‘Beach’

“Son of the Beach,” the Howard Stern-produced series that was FX’s first original comedy, is unlikely to be renewed for a fourth season, according to insiders.

Candidates for “SOB’s” spot on the schedule include “Lucky,” starring John Corbett; an untitled new comedy starring Paul Reiser; and an improv ensemble comedy.

Contractually, the cable network has until the end of the week of Sept. 16 to make the final decision, but the overwhelming likelihood at this point is that the tide has finally run out for the “Baywatch” spoof starring Tim Stack as lifeguard Notch Johnson.

But the late-night comedy could still be resuscitated at another network that likes its men 18-to-34 and other young demo numbers, and word is that Fox Television Studios is in talks with at least two networks.

While “SOB” is down overall from its second season, it continues to do well with those desirable young demos, for example notching a muscular 1.0 this past summer with 18-to-34 males. The basic problem with the series is not its slight decline from its overall past performance, but the fact that such new original cable series as “The Osbournes” on MTV and “Dead Zone” on USA Network have “raised the bar,” as one insider who declined to be identified put it.

“Son of the Beach” is produced by the Howard Stern Production Co. and Loch Lomond Entertainment in association with Fox Television Studios. Spokespersons either could not be reached or had no comment.

‘Family Affair’ premieres to solid ratings: The hour-long Thursday (8 p.m. to 9 p.m., ET) special premiere of The WB’s revived version of “Family Affair” turned in a 4.7 rating/8 share household average last night, making it the highest-rated comedy premiere on the Frog Network since “Smart Guy” bowed in April 1997.

“Family Affair’s” household average in Nielsen Media Research overnight markets represented a 52 percent jump over the year-ago debut of “Popstars 2” (3.1/4) in the 8 p.m. Thursday time period. The first-time comedy effort from the nascent Turner Television production unit found its initial rating score 47 percent higher than the year-ago week average in the time period.

One of the best major-market scores last night for the Tim Curry- and Gary Cole-led sitcom came from Tribune Broadcasting-owned WGN-TV in Chicago, where “Family Affair” won the 7 p.m.-to-8 p.m. (CT) time slot at an 8.6/15 average. Other strong scores came in from New York (11 share), Denver (11), Orlando (14), Portland (10) and Milwaukee (10).