"It does hurt a little that you do a show this good--this funny and moving both--and the numbers are low," he said. "I wish there was an appetite out there for more wholesome TV shows. I'd like to do them. But our show 'Family' never got a big rating. It was kept on the air because of the awards that it won and the recognition we got for doing a family show.
"I don't know," Spelling mused. " 'Touched by an Angel' is getting a big rating for CBS, but that is really a fantasy show. 'Second Noah' was nice; they didn't watch that. 'Dangerous Minds,' about a teacher helping kids in a high school, they didn't watch that. And as proud as I am for some of the issues we tackled on '90210,' I don't think that is the reason it gets its ratings.' "
The "7th Heaven" cast includes two gorgeous teenagers in Barry Watson and Jessica Biel, who are hot stuff to many avid teen fans, and Ancier admits that, given the teen-heavy demographic makeup of his network generally, he would like the show to focus more heavily on the kids, whose faces could easily be marketed on bedroom wall posters.
But both Spelling and Hampton insist that the show won't pander to the hormonal cravings of teenage viewers.
"I think we already have a good teenage audience," Spelling said. "I think we have to get the mothers and fathers and older people to watch the show and not the kids who are there already, and you do that by having strong parents who have their own lives and relationship and with stories about the little kids too."
* "7th Heaven" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on WB (Channel 5).