Placing its bets on Danza, a former lightweight boxer who had become a TV heavyweight with hits like Taxi and Who's the Boss, the network ordered 22 episodes of the new program last fall. But only five aired and 13 were filmed.
After tanking in it's original, unprotected 8 p.m., Wednesday time slot, Danza was shelved for November sweeps then put into an 8:30 slot between episodes of Third Rock From the Sun two weeks ago. The miserable ratings Danza's family oriented show achieved in the 18-49-year-old demographic--a market NBC covets as much as anyone--did the program in.
Meanwhile, in the ratings-barren frontier of "fledging" network television, came the cancellation news of UPN's Hitz. But unlike The Tony Danza Show, which will go off the air right away, the Andrew Dice Clay half-hour comedy should linger for a while.
While NBC has had trouble getting a show out of the gate, once-fledgling Fox has found something that works.
David Kelly's young-lawyers-in-love drama, Ally McBeal, has been on the air less than three months, but Fox announced Monday it's already been renewed for 1998-99. Not surprising given the program's 8.4 rating and a 20 share among women ages 18-34 and 34 percent audience growth since its Monday-night debut in September.
While McBeal stars such as Calista Flockhart and Courtney Thorne-Smith were celebrating, Queen Latifah, Kim Coles and the rest of the Living Single cast were busy putting together the final episodes of their show's five-year run.
The series will culminate with back-to-back airings on Thursday, January 1, starting at 8 p.m. The 8:30 series finale features Synclaire (Coles) landing her first television series and heading off for Hollywood with her handyman-squeeze, Overton (John Henton).
That's not the only shake up in Fox's lineup. Ed Asner, late of Lou Grant, will be back in the news business next month as a regular on Ask Harriet, a new series on Fox. The show will join Fox's schedule at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, January 8, after a special one-time preview on Sunday, January 4. Fox is also bringing back New York Undercover in the Thursday, 9 p.m. slot vacated by the canceled 413 Hope St., the network said Monday. And the hourlong Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction will join Fox's schedule Friday nights at 8 p.m., starting January 23, replacing The Visitor.
Meanwhile, on CBS, JoMarie Payton-Noble, who's played mother to über-nerd Urkel on Family Matters for the last nine seasons, is leaving the show.
Her last episode will air next Friday, but she won't say how her character will be deleted from the show. She did, however, explain that she felt "creatively stifled" in the role.
"I want to act, dance, sing," Payton-Noble told the Associated Press. "The series has been good to me in many ways...but it has not given me enough to do as an actor and performer."