The prideful Peacock, still top-rated but struggling, canned the unfortunately titled Built to Last, and sent The Tony Danza Show to hiatus hell--one day after watching the Wednesday night freshman sitcoms pull embarrassing ratings, and help drag network darling 3rd Rock from the Sun to its lowest numbers ever.
Built to Last, often described as a cross between The Cosby Show and Home Improvement, is the third casualty of the not-quite, four-week-old 1997-98 season, following in the fateful footsteps of UPN's Head Over Heels and the never-aired Scott Baio vehicle, Rewind, officially canceled this week by Fox.
The sitcom, starring comedian Royale Watkins (Speed 2), looked like a Dead Series Walking from the get-go, but it was Wednesday's historically poor outing that got the show killed. Its estimated 4.87 million viewers made it the lowest-watched program of the half-hour among all six broadcast networks--the second-division WB and UPN, included.
Tony Danza, meanwhile, is clinging to his sitcom life. Like Built to Last, his self-titled NBC sitcom is a bottom-feeder. And like its companion show, Wednesday's performance was its worst ever. It barely escaped the indignity of getting out-rated by the WB's Sister, Sister and running fifth in the 8 p.m. time slot.
Danza's show, yanked from the schedule effective immediately, could resurface in December. NBC bought a full-season's worth of 22 episodes when it signed the veteran Who's the Boss? star, so the theory is, it's got to burn off the shows sometime.
Anemic ratings aside, it appears Built to Last and Danza's biggest sins are the suckhole effect they've had on 3rd Rock from the Sun in the 9 p.m. time slot. That formerly top-rated, Emmy-winning comedy sank to a paltry 6.6 rating Wednesday night. That, in turn, helped drag down one of NBC's few new bright spots, Fred Savage's Working.
The news for freshman shows, meanwhile, was brighter over at CBS, where the Tiffany network is puttering along in second place. Renewed through the end of the season are: the comedies The Gregory Hines Show and George & Leo, and the cop drama, Brooklyn South.