Tuesday, February 12, 2002

WB puts 'Felicity' out of a job

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Now we know what will happen to Felicity when she graduates from college this spring.

        She gets canceled.

        WB has pulled the plug on the four-year drama starring Keri Russell as college senior Felicity Porter.

        Felicity, which was replaced in its 9 p.m. Wednesday time slot by Kevin Williamson's Glory Days last month, will return March 20 to WB (Channel 64) for 11 episodes. A two-hour finale will air May 22, WB announced Monday.

        “It seems fitting to conclude such a coming-of-age story as the characters move on from college,” said Jordan Levin, WB Entertainment president, on Monday.

        The news surprised Felicity fans who had heard that the show's fate would not be determined until it returned to the schedule.

        “Felicity always comes back stronger in the second half of the season,” Mr. Levin told TV critics in January.

        “Felicity has been a show that's sort of ebbed and flowed throughout the years. It came back very strong the latter half of last year,” he said.

        “We have some really strong development (of series) again this season. And we'll have to look and see how the cards fall in May,” he told TV critics.

        Mr. Levin told TV critics that Felicity had “creatively suffered a bit” because executive producer J.J. Abrams has “not (been) involved substantially this season.”

        Mr. Abrams, whose film credits include Armageddon and Forever Young, has been preoccupied launching ABC's Alias (9 p.m. Sunday, Channels 9, 2).

        Felicity has lost 610,000 viewers (average per show) from last season. It ranks No. 129 of 151 series, according to Nielsen Media Research.

        Glory Days,No. 134 this season, will move to 9 p.m. Monday March 11 through April 8, says Chris White, Channel 64 program director. Angel, which has aired at 9 p.m. Mondays since fall, will return April 15 with new shows until the TV season ends May 22, Mr. Levin said Monday.

        WB also has benched Nikki Cox's Nikki sitcom (8:30 p.m. Sunday), which likely will be canceled. WB has cut its episode order for Nikki, while asking for four more episodes of JFX: The Jamie Kennedy Experiment (8 p.m. Sundays).

        "Inside' scoop: Inside Edition reporter Stacey Gualandi slipped home over the weekend and spoke at her alma mater, Miami University.

        The 1983 Sycamore High School graduate, now in her fourth season on Inside Edition, got her first show business experience in Cincinnati in 1988, a year after she graduated from Miami. She was a production assistant during filming of John Sayles' Eight Men Out, about the 1919 World Series gambling scandal.

        Her job: cleaning up after horses. “That was one of my first scoops, I guess,” she jokes.

        Later that year, she was Molly Ringwald's stand-in when Fresh Horses was shot here. Cameras and lighting would be adjusted on Ms. Gualandi, before Ms. Ringwald walked onto the set.

        “It was a good experience,” says the former intern for WKRC-TV (Channel 12) and WXIX-TV (Channel 19).

        By the end of 1988, she moved to Los Angeles. She has worked Incredible Sunday (the weekend version of That's Incredible); Nick Clooney's syndicated On Trial (1988); and on Extra with David Rose, the new Channel 9 reporter.

        Kiese-watching: NBC did a nice job profiling 1984 Olympic champion skier Bill Johnson in prime-time Sunday, but we didn't need to see it twice.

        Part of the interview was recycled in the opening half-hour of NBC's Today show Monday. Couldn't they find anyone else to feature? Why a rerun the first weekday morning of the Games? Viewers of TV's top-rated morning show deserve better than stale repeats.

        Enquirering Mind: Enquirering minds want to know: What happened to the Rosie O'Donnell Show?

        She's gone for two weeks, while NBC airs live Winter Olympics coverage 4-5 p.m.

        Channel 5 has pushed Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown up an hour, into Rosie's 3-4 p.m. time slot. Rosie was deemed expendable because Channel 5 is dropping the show this summer, when Ms. O'Donnell quits. No Tristate station has picked up Warner Bros.' replacement talk show starring Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage Witch).

        Rosie fans will have to catch her show at 4 p.m. on Dayton's WHIO-TV (Channel 7).

        Channel 5 has bought Dr. Phil to air at 3 p.m. weekdays in the fall. It's hosted by Dr. Phil McGraw, a psychologist and author who appears weekly on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

        Millionaire woes: Who Wants to be a Millionaire, which used to air four times a week, will be down to once weekly on March 4. ABC will replace the Monday show with My Wife and Kids reruns and new episodes of The Wayne Brady Show. Regis Philbin's only Millionaire will be 9 p.m. Thursday next month.

       Contact John Kiesewetter by phone: 768-8519; fax: 768-8330; e-mail: jkiesewetter@enquirer.com.


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