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'Birds' sags; 'Firefly' glowing

Posted on November 18, 2002

Skein dives post-preem, Whedon show gets 2 more

The WB is grounding "Birds of Prey," while Fox is shining a little bit of love on "Firefly."

Nothing's official on "Birds," but industry insiders confirm the Frog has told Warner Bros. TV it will not be ordering any episodes of the superhero drama beyond the frosh skein's original 13-seg commitment. Still undecided: Whether producers WBTV and Tollin/Robbins will shoot the remaining four episodes from the initial order.

While "Birds" scored boffo numbers with its bow last month -- attracting nearly 8 million viewers and winning its 9 p.m. Wednesday slot in men 18-34 -- skein soon began to bleed viewers. By last week, "Birds" had lost nearly half its premiere aud.

There's no word yet when "Birds" will ankle the Frog lineup or what will replace it. Possibilities include the reality skein "Class Reunion" and another Tollin/Robbins drama, "The Black Sash."

Meanwhile, Fox hasn't given up hope on "Firefly." The network has ordered two more episodes of the Joss Whedon actioner, keeping the show on life support for now.

Fox had previously picked up six additional scripts for "Firefly," which is produced by 20th Century Fox TV through Whedon's Mutant Enemy shingle. Whedon -- who's directing an upcoming seg of the skein -- and Tim Minear exec produce the actioner, which stars Nathan Fillion as the leader of a renegade space ship 500 years in the future.

"Firefly" continues to struggle on Friday nights. After eight original episodes, the show has averaged a 2.2 rating and 8 share among adults 18-49 and 4.8 million viewers.

By Josef Adalian, Michael Schneider. Variety - www.variety.com.

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