LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- FOX is sending its freshman drama "North Shore" packing early as the network has rolled back its commitment to the series by one episode.
Production on the series will halt after its 21st installment at the end of next week as FOX has scrapped plans to shoot its previously ordered 22nd episode, which had been scheduled to start shooting on January 3 following a holiday break.
Because of the change, the show's producers plan to incorporate elements from the 22nd episode, which was originally supposed to end with a cliffhanger, into the newly branded finale. Said episode will now feature a less ambiguous ending.
Viewers however may never end up seeing "North Shore's" final two episodes. Already scheduled are episodes 17 ("Sucker Punch") and 18 ("Catwalk") for December 9 and 16 respectively with episode 19 tentatively slated for January 13. The reason: work on the last two installments won't be completed in time to beat "Point Pleasant," which assumes "Shore's" Thursday, 9:00/8:00c slot on January 20, to the air.
Just 4.16 million viewers on average have tuned into the series since the 2004-05 season officially began (Monday, September 20) with only "World's Craziest Videos" (3.94 million), "Totally Outrageous Behavior" (3.66 million) and "The Complex: Malibu" (2.50 million) faring worse on the network overall. Even more troubling has been the show's retention from current lead-in "The O.C.," which is just 54.25% in the four weeks the series have aired together.
While each of these developments leads one to believe "North Shore" is dead, FOX, Brancato/Salke Productions or 20th Century Fox Television has yet to confirm any cancellation.