[12/21/04 - 12:00 AM]
Showtime Sends 'Dead Like Me' to Afterlife
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- Showtime has pulled the plug on its sophomore drama "Dead Like Me" after two seasons. In addition, the pay channel is set to move forward with its small screen take on "Barbershop."

Both moves were confirmed by network representatives today.

No reason was given for the decision to axe "Dead Like Me," although industry insiders speculate Showtime topper Robert Greenblatt wants to clear some of his programming budget for newer projects. Production on three new drama pilots - "Brotherhood," "The Cell" and "Hate" - was completed earlier this year, with at least one expected to get a series order next year.

Ratings may have also been a factor in the decision as the show's second season finale was seen by 622,000 viewers, down 22% from its June 2003 debut (797,000 viewers). The series nevertheless topped the much-hyped premiere to "Huff" last month, which scored a meager 456,000 viewers. Week two of the Hank Azaria-led drama, which was given a second season order before it ever premiered, fared even worse with 297,000 viewers tuning in (a 35% decline).

MGM Television, the studio behind "Dead Like Me," nevertheless got some good news as well today as Showtime is understood to have ordered at least 10 episodes of a TV version of "Barbershop."

John Ridley ("Undercover Brother") is spearheading the project along with George Tillman Jr. and Robert Teitel, the executive producers of the "Barbershop" features. No details however were given about the project, such as whether any of the big screen actors will reprise their roles.

Meanwhile in other Showtime-related news, the network confirmed its Kirstie Alley-led comedy "Fat Actress" will bow on Monday, March 7 while its telefilms "Reefer Madness" and "Our Fathers" will debut in April and May respectively.

  [december 2004]  


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