Soon, the TV world will not have Ned the Pie Maker or the dysfunctional Darlings or Eli Stone/George Michael.
ABC President of Entertainment Steve McPherson broke the news Thursday afternoon that the network was giving up on three sophomore shows, "Pushing Daisies," "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Eli Stone." Although McPherson never uttered the words "You're canceled" to producers, the message was clear to the cast and crews: They had been dumped. The network is not ordering more episodes of the three series, though it will complete production and air all produced episodes of each.
Behind the scenes, ABC officials insisted "the door was still open" on all three shows, but those who toiled on the shows began the process of letting go.
McPherson "was very complimentary and thanked everyone for putting their first foot forward," "Daisies" creator Bryan Fuller said. "He never said we're canceled, but that was the gist of it. He said they're proud of the show and not ordering episodes at this time.
"I could read between the lines and interpret that the door could be open in the future, but I think that the gist of that is that we weren't going to be moving forward on ABC."
"Eli Stone" executive producers Marc Guggenheim and David Petrarca gathered actors and crew members Thursday afternoon to give them the sad news, according to a source who attended the meeting. An employee of "Dirty Sexy Money" said bosses there also notified the cast and crew that ABC had called it quits.
"No absolute finality was given but stranger things have happened because you see what happened with 'Jericho,' " Fuller said. (The CBS show was canceled after its first season and then renewed when fans bombarded CBS with peanuts as a sign of support. It was canceled again after its second season.)
Fuller acknowledged that everyone who worked on the show will begin looking for new jobs, which would make it hard for the "door to stay open." He already has his next gig lined up: returning to "Heroes," where he worked as a writer in the NBC show's first season. He also has begun thinking about turning his sweet fairy tale "Daisies" into a movie.
"It's hard not to be disappointed but I'm walking away with a stronger feeling of pride and gratitude," Fuller said.
ABC rebounded quickly and announced the following additions to its midseason lineup.
"Scrubs," which ABC bought after NBC canceled it during what was supposed to be its last season, will premiere with back-to-back episodes on Jan. 6 beginning at 9 p.m.
"Life on Mars" will move to Wednesday nights beginning Jan. 28 at 10 p.m. in the slot after "Lost," which premieres on Jan. 21 with a three-hour event.
"Private Practice," will move to Thursdays beginning Jan. 8 at 10 p.m., airing after the show that gave it its life, "Grey's Anatomy."