Kevin James, The King of Queens
This week the networks began meeting with ad-agency execs to talk about what's in development for the 2006-07 season. That means it's time for producers of current shows with less-than-robust ratings to start worrying about getting picked up for next season. Here's what industry insiders are telling the Biz.
ABC: The network's comedies are having a tough year in the ratings, but you can't cancel all of them. Rodney, Hope & Faith, Crumbs and Less than Perfect aren't likely to make the cut. According to Jim, George Lopez and Freddie have a chance of returning. Since ABC has two more hours to program in the fall now that football has moved to NBC, shows that would otherwise be doomed have a chance. We're talking Invasion and Commander in Chief. Their survival depends on the strength of the network's new-program development.
CBS: Another season of The King of Queens depends on whether the network can meet cast demands for more money. We've seen the last of Still Standing and Yes, Dear. Courting Alex and Close to Home are questionable. The success of The Unit will likely encourage CBS to kill its Sunday movies to make room for dramas.
NBC: Joey is already headed to wherever failed spin-offs go to die. E-Ring and Surface are "on hiatus" — network-speak for purgatory — and Four Kings doesn't look like a keeper. Brace yourselves, Scrubs fans, NBC still hasn't decided to order a fifth season.
Fox: The current season of Bernie Mac could be its last, while the shelved Stacked is history. The War at Home has better than a 50-50 chance of coming back. The jury is still out on Fox's two new comedies, Free Ride and The Loop.CW:
The WB-UPN merger means those networks' shows will compete for half as many time slots. CW will have to decide whether to renew marginal ratings performers such as One Tree Hill
(unlikely) and Veronica Mars
(not a slam dunk). Shows headed for the exit include Related
, One on One
, Love Inc.
, What I Like About You
and Living with Fran
. On the bubble: Eve
, All of Us
and Half and Half
. Remember, the new network also has six pilots to consider and CW's half-owner Warner Bros. will be hell-bent on getting the Aquaman series on the air, so there's not a lot of room at the inn.