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'Daisies' is pushing to know its fate on ABC

The drama wraps its season not knowing if it will continue. Other low-rated series are also in network limbo.

November 14, 2008|Scott Collins and Maria Elena Fernandez | Collins and Fernandez are Times staff writers.

Bryan Fuller is awaiting word of his fate. And still it won't come.

Fuller is executive producer of "Pushing Daisies," ABC's sophomore drama that has for weeks been a prime cancellation target. As the TV industry buzzes with rumors about the health of "Daisies" and other endangered series -- a typical rite of November -- Fuller is getting frustrated.

"Every day we're hearing that we're canceled and then we hear that we're not," Fuller said Thursday, as the crew wrapped production on the final episode in the series' current order. "It's all rumors. Nothing official at all. We are in radio-silence land."

As networks firm up their midseason schedules after a difficult fall plagued by the presidential campaign and other disruptions, producers of at least half a dozen other low-rated series are awaiting news.

Published reports say NBC has already decided to ax two dramas with big stars: the spy caper "My Own Worst Enemy" with Christian Slater and "Lipstick Jungle" with Brooke Shields. No official word has been forthcoming, but a network insider said production has halted on both shows. Previously, NBC renewed its car caper "Knight Rider," despite very low ratings. Wednesday night, the series skidded to another record low.

Fox had earlier canceled the sitcom "Do Not Disturb" -- the season's first casualty -- and this week also chopped the long-running sketch revue "MADtv." But the network gave full-season orders to the new sci-fi thriller "Fringe," as well as to the struggling "Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles."

CBS' critically acclaimed comedy "Worst Week" has underperformed and could be vulnerable, although the network might OK a few more episodes to give the show more time to build an audience. A CBS spokesman declined to comment, but the comedy "Gary Unmarried" and the drama "Eleventh Hour" are considered likely bets for renewal.

ABC's situation is perhaps the most in-flux of any network. The network has several shows that are "on the bubble," including the soap "Dirty Sexy Money" and the legal drama "Eli Stone." A spokeswoman said no final decisions had been made.

"Life on Mars," the sci-fi cop drama that was ABC's sole new scripted series this fall, will likely come back, although some speculation has it being moved to another night, possibly Wednesday. Under this scenario -- unconfirmed by the network -- "Private Practice" would move to Thursdays, following "Grey's Anatomy," the show from which it was spun off.

As for "Daisies," it's likely that no more episodes will be made this year. But Fuller is holding out hope that the network might decide to "short-order" the show next season, for a run of 13 episodes instead of the customary 22.

"It's tough but spirits have been really good on the set," Fuller said. "There's such a dedication with the cast and crew. It's infectious and we're hoping ABC gets infected by that dedication."

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scott.collins@latimes.com

maria.elena.fernandez@latimes.com

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