[02/17/06 - 12:00 AM]
ABC Quietly Sends 'Crumbs' to Hiatus
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "Crumbs's" two-week break has become a bit more permanent as scheduling updates released by ABC this afternoon confirm the series won't be returning to the network anytime soon.

The Alphabet announced today it will expand next week's broadcast of "Dancing With the Stars" (February 23) to two hours, while movies will fill the network's Thursday lineup on March 2 ("Sweet Home Alabama") and March 9 ("Bringing Down the House").

That, coupled with the previously announced two-hour launch of "American Inventor" on Thursday, March 16 and a special four-week run of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (entitled "After the Storm") due to start on Thursday, March 23, will keep ABC's Thursday schedule occupied for the foreseeable future.

The news comes in spite "Crumbs's" status as the network's most-watched comedy (10.76 million on average), more than 3.0 million viewers ahead of ABC's second most-watched half-hour, "The George Lopez Show" (7.70 million on average).

Nevertheless, the show's continued erosion of its "Stars" lead-in most likely lead to its hiatus. Its January 12 launch was seen by 11.81 million viewers and held 68.03% of said lead-in while its most-recent Thursday airing on February 2 drew 9.13 million viewers and fell to a 48.49% retention rate.

ABC's two Thursday "Grey's Anatomy" encores have fared slightly better, drawing 9.94 million on February 9 (49.80% retention of "Stars") and an estimated 9.4 million last night (48.96% retention of "Stars").

Outside of its regular Thursday, 9:30/8:30c slot, ABC offered up a special Tuesday installment of "Crumbs" on February 7. With the loss of its "Stars" lead-in, the broadcast not surprisingly hit a series low of 6.97 million viewers. To its credit however, it did hold 83.27% of its "According to Jim" lead-in (8.37 million).

In any case, it's not clear when the remaining eight installments from its 13-episode order will air. Marco Pennette, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola are the executive producers of the series, a co-production of Touchstone Television and Tollin/Robbins Productions.

Meanwhile in other ABC news, the network remains mum on what will permanently fill the Friday, 8:00/7:00c hour once "Stars" wraps its run. For now, a mix of new and repeat episodes of "America's Funniest Home Videos" will kick off the Alphabet's Friday schedule on February 24, March 3 and March 10.

  [february 2006]  


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