- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 24, 2003

‘Time’s‘ up

It’s the end of the line for Showtime’s “Street Time.” The gritty drama, starring Rob Morrow and Scott Cohen, has been canceled after two seasons, Reuters News Agency reports.

The show premiered to strong reviews in June 2002. Its second season wrapped earlier this fall.

High five

The star-studded 26th annual Kennedy Center Honors makes its appearance tonight on CBS.

The program, airing at 9 p.m., features host Caroline Kennedy paying tribute to Carol Burnett, James Brown, Mike Nichols, Loretta Lynn and Itzhak Perlman.

Taped at the Kennedy Center Opera House December 7, the show has an impressive list of performers and presenters, including Garth Brooks, Lyle Lovett, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Elaine May, LL Cool J, Julie Andrews and Sissy Spacek.

The next Britney?

Let’s hope there’s room in the Spears household for two stars.

Britney’s younger sister, 12-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears, is set to enroll in a boarding-school comedy series being developed at Nickelodeon, Reuters News Agency reports.

The children’s cable channel is close to greenlighting a 13-episode order for the series starring the young actress, who already is a cast member on the Nick sketch comedy show “All That.”

The untitled series is expected to join Nick’s prime-time lineup at an unspecified time next year. Nickelodeon declined comment.

‘Girls,’ ‘Morgan’ extended

A pair of on-the-fence shows got an early Christmas gift.

The WB Network’s “Gilmore Girls” will return for a fifth season in the fall, and NBC’s “The Tracy Morgan Show” also received a confidence boost when the network ordered five additional episodes for the midseason replacement, Reuters reports.

“Gilmore Girls,” starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bleidel as a mother and daughter whose relationship is more like that of best friends, has become a signature series for the WB, though it has suffered a ratings drop so far this season.

For “Tracy Morgan,” the pickup brings the total order to 19 episodes, which will carry the blue-collar family show through the end of the season. Mr. Morgan’s show premiered earlier this month.

ABC’s reflections

Reuters News Agency

Still on the comeback trail, ABC is not about to repeat the mistakes it made nearly a year ago.

Determined to boost a longtime problem night after the season end of “Monday Night Football,” network executives in January began sandwiching the legal drama “The Practice” between two new hourlong programs, the adventure “Veritas: The Quest” and the supernatural thriller “Miracles.”

The result? The new shows bombed, and “Practice” creator David E. Kelley angrily attacked the network for moves that he said nearly “killed” his show.

“Obviously, trying to jump-start a whole new night of programming after ‘Monday Night Football’ was a huge mistake last year,” says Susan Lyne, ABC entertainment president. This year, “going back to a movie night after football is a lot smarter,” she added.

So is returning “The Practice” to Sunday nights, Miss Lyne said, where it has perked up in the ratings with a mostly new cast.

Meanwhile, caution seems to be the watchword these days at ABC, which is still engaged in the delicate task of trying to rebuild the network after a ratings free-fall that began during the 2001-02 season, when the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” faded as a prime-time sensation.

While ABC has seen some encouraging signs of progress recently — particularly with its re-established TGIF comedy block, anchored by the freshman comedy “Hope & Faith ” — the alphabet network nonetheless is stuck in fourth place in the key 18-to-49 adult demographic. So far this season, its numbers are off 8 percent, to an average 3.6 rating/10 share, compared to the comparable period last year. By comparison, CBS is down 3 percent in the demo season to date (3.9/11); NBC, the leading network in the prime 18-to-49 demographic, is down 10 percent (4.3/12); and Fox is up 5 percent.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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