[03/12/03 - 12:00 AM] 'Ellie' Return Date Finally Set By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)
CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- After being off its schedule for nearly 11 months, NBC will premiere the second season of its Julia Louis-Dreyfus comedy "Watching Ellie" on April 15.
"Ellie" will air Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c following "Frasier," where it will replace the struggling Scott Foley comedy "A.U.S.A."
The show's return also marks some changes to its format. Gone is the "real time" clock and the single camera aspect as the fresh batch of six episodes will be shot in the typical multi-camera sitcom format in front of a live studio audience. With the change, it is unlikely NBC will air the three episodes still in the can from last season which were shot using the old model.
Interestingly enough, "A.U.S.A." was also originally shot as a single camera, laugh-track free series but the decision was made to scrap it in favor of the more traditional sitcom format.
"Ellie's" return was considered a long shot last season as the series closed its run with just 6.9 million viewers. That's actually significantly below "A.U.S.A's" season average (9.35 million through March 2) as well as that of the on hiatus "Hidden Hills" (9.89 million). NBC has yet to make a formal announcement regarding the fate of "A.U.S.A.," "Hidden Hills" or fellow hiatused series "Just Shoot Me."