Think Wall Street's dramatic nosedive has you down? Well, it could be worse: You could be Darren Star. The writer/producer of HBO's red-hot Sex and the City and the WB's Grosse Pointe believes falling stocks may have led Fox to cancel his steamy Blue-Chip soap The Street.
"I think the show was a victim of a horrible timeslot and a crashing stock market — which certainly didn't help its future prospects in terms of the network looking at the show and saying, 'Hmmm, what do we have invested here and do we want to stick with this?'" Star tells TV Guide Online. "But I think the number one [problem] was the fact that we were up against The West Wing."
Considering The Street's formidable competition — in addition to NBC's Emmy-winning White House drama, the show had to battle ABC's The Drew Carey Show and the WB's resurgent Felicity — Star admits he's disappointed the network wasn't thinking longer term. "TV has become sort of like an opening weekend kind of business," he says. "If you don't score out of the box, no network is going to stick with you. I think that Fox felt like they had nowhere to move the show, and we were ultimately done in by poor ratings."
The Street wasn't the only primetime soap to go belly-up this fall. Titans — NBC's costly Dynasty update from Star's former Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place colleague Aaron Spelling — also got the axe. Still, Star isn't ready to perform last rites on the genre just yet.
"It's got to be a confluence of the right concept, the right timeslot and the right cast," he says. "I don't think the audience will ever want to be shamelessly manipulated. They're not going to put up with anything that's obvious or bad. In the case of The Street, it was a soap in a sense, but it also was a solid hour-long show about a different world that people hadn't been exposed to."