I know Brenda Hampton probably isn't the first person you guys want to hear from right now - it was, after all, her show's 11th-hour pickup that chopped down our beloved Everwood - but it seems only fair that we give the woman a chance to weigh in on the whole controversy. So when I heard that my colleague Ileane Rudolph was interviewing Hampton (you didn't think I was going to talk to her, did you?), I naturally slipped her a few Everwood-related Qs specifically for the Ausiello Report.

TVGuide.com: Do you think 7th Heaven's huge finale ratings gave the show the edge over Everwood?
Hampton:
I don't think that's it. If you look back over the years, Everwood never had our ratings. It's a very good show - a critically acclaimed show - but it never was close to us in the ratings. I don't think that it's just the ratings from the last two episodes that would have made them choose us. It's the ratings over the last 10 years.

TVGuide.com: Fans and critics are not happy that Everwood, which many feel was still in its prime, got axed in favor of Heaven. There's a backlash brewing. Any thoughts?
Hampton:
Again, I liked Everwood. It was a good show. I don't think the ratings were building. Were they? I don't know. Our ratings were not building, but they still were higher than anyone else's. The bottom line is we have held the position of No. 1 for many years now. And we continued to do so last year, in our 10th season.... I don't even like the notion that we kept Everwood from surviving. I think that each show is competing against itself. It's just that our ratings were higher than anyone else's ratings - even before the last two episodes. Again, I like [ Everwood]. It's a terrific show. The 9 pm time slot is very difficult; nothing has done that well following us. I think one of the reasons is that we're a family show. We go off at 9 pm and families go to bed. [ Laughs] It's difficult to maintain that family audience.

Personally, I don't hold Hampton accountable. It's not her fault that CW prefers their family dramas old and severely worn down. Now be sure to pick up next week's issue of TV Guide magazine for more from Ileane's interview with Hampton, including how the scribe plans to write herself out of that whole triple-pregnancy corner. (I so wanna make a tasteless joke here, but I'm going to take the high road and save it for the podcast.)