[01/30/04 - 12:00 AM]
Promise Reneged: ABC Scraps 'Sisco'
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- Despite promising to relaunch the series in the spring, ABC has nevertheless decided to pull the plug on its freshman drama "Karen Sisco."

"Sisco" was placed on hiatus back in November (read the story), but ABC executives were vocal about their plans to give it a second chance in March. "We love this show, but it has become increasingly obvious that it�s not working on Wednesday nights," ABC Entertainment president Susan Lyne told reporters back in November. "Rather than give up, we�re going to complete production on the remaining episodes and aggressively relaunch the series this March in a new time period. We�re hopeful that this course of action will result in the show becoming as popular with viewers as it is with critics and ABC executives."

Since the announcement however, industry insiders say the network was unhappy with the show's first returning script and decided to cut their losses, scrapping the show completely. Production was set to begin on the final three episodes of its initial 13-episode order next week.

For its seven broadcasts this season, "Sisco" averaged a less than spectacular 7.59 million viewers and a disastrous 61.27% retention rate of lead-in "The Bachelor." Nevertheless, "Sisco" was actually up from last fall's Wednesday, 10:00/9:00c time slot holder, the short-lived medical drama "MDs," which averaged 6.67 million viewers and a 55.73% retention rate of "The Bachelor's" audience in year-to-year comparisons.

It's not clear if ABC plans to burn off the three remaining produced installments of the series or if cable's USA network, which had been repurposing the show, will air the episodes. Last season, CBS' "Robbery Homicide Division," which like "Sisco" was produced by Universal Network Television and repurposed on USA, saw its three unaired episodes run on the cable network.

Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, John Landgraf, Bob Brush and Michael Dinner were the executive producers of "Sisco," a co-production of Universal Network Television and Jersey Television.

  [january 2004]  


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