Time for an S.O.S. Time to Save Our Shows.
With only five weeks until networks announce their fall TV renewals, it's time for fans of struggling shows to make their voices heard - before it's too late - for The Practice, Third Watch, Ed, Angel or American Dreams. Maybe your letter won't make a bit of difference, but you'll have the satisfaction of giving producers a piece of your mind.
Based on season-to-date Nielsen rankings for all 166 series, here are 15 shows likely to be on network executives' hit list:
|Good Morning Miami||NBC|| 31||The important number is 3.7 million, not 31. That's how many viewers Mark Feuerstein's newsroom comedy loses from Will & Grace on Thursdays. It could be goodbye: Last year NBC dumped Inside Schwartz, despite a No. 15 ranking. |
|Third Watch||NBC|| 42||Everybody Loves Raymond and Monday Night Football leave producer John Wells' excellent police-fire-paramedic drama a distant third at 9 p.m. Monday. Adding Tom Berenger for four weeks (starting today) doesn't compare to Wells' ER stunt casting (Sally Field, Ed Asner).|
|Dragnet||ABC|| 51||Just the facts: This revival of the '50s classic could be TV history by next month. Viewers haven't warmed to ABC's gritty Law & Order-style remake, starring Ed O'Neill.
|Crossing Jordan||NBC|| 52||It doesn't take a forensics specialist to tell why Jill Hennessy's Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, ranked No. 26 last season, isn't TV's top coroner. Newcomer CSI: Miami ranks No. 15, with 6 million more viewers.|
|The Practice||ABC|| 53 ||Could ABC dump the Emmy-winning drama that has lost 1.8-million viewers this year? Anything is possible after ABC bumped it from Sunday to Monday. The Practice wasn't among the 10 ABC shows renewed in February. Case closed?|
|American Dreams||NBC||57||This delightful '60s family drama with its clever American Bandstand re-creations needs more viewers to keep the beat going. On the flip side: NBC could have too many other holes to fill to cancel this one.|
|Ed||NBC|| 59||Tom Cavanagh, as the bowling alley-lawyer, could be in his final frame on this sophisticated drama that was out of place at 8 p.m. Wednesday. A ratings uptick at 9 p.m. Friday this month could spare Ed.|
|Boomtown||NBC|| 63||Critics' raves haven't translated into big ratings for this L.A. police drama told through multiple perspectives. Boomtown might go bust despite winning a Peabody Award last week for "refreshing and renewing the police procedural genre." |
|The Agency||CBS|| 83||Intelligence sources inside CBS say the Rocky Carroll-Beau Bridges CIA drama could be rubbed out in May by CBS programmers who have an over-abundance of one-hour dramas.
|Cedric the Entertainer Presents||Fox|| 91||The future is sketchy for Cedric, one of the Kings of Comedy, who looks like a pauper after Wanda Sykes' Fox sitcom debut nearly doubled the audience in his old Wednesday time slot.
|Miracles||ABC|| 107 ||Yes, that's what Skeet Ulrich needs for his drama opposite CSI: Miami - a miracle. An Internet petition campaign is trying to provide one (www.petitiononline.com/mir8453/petition.html).
|Just Shoot Me||NBC|| 110||The David Spade-Laura San Giacomo comedy, ranked No. 19 last season, has lost more than half its audience since leaving Thursday's "Must See TV" lineup. Just shoot me, indeed.
|John Doe||Fox|| 119||John Doe (Dominc Purcell) can't remember his name, and viewers can't remember to watch. Fox, with Fastlane at No. 120, likely will be looking again for a new Friday strategy this fall.
|Angel||WB|| 146||Since Buffy the Vampire Slayer left UPN two years ago, Angel has failed to draw a crowd on Sunday and Wednesday. Will WB stick a stake in Angel after David Boreanaz appears on Buffy's UPN finale May 20?|
|The Twilight Zone||UPN|| 157||Nine spots from the Nielsen cellar means this revival of Rod Serling's classic concept isn't as timeless as infinity. Next stop? Cancellation - unless UPN really wants an expensive signature drama.|