For those of you keeping score at home, or on E! Online's Ratings Showdown, make note that UPN's Head Over Heels is the first casualty of the 1997-98 TV season.
(Yes, we know: Fox earlier canned Scott Baio's Rewind. But that show never actually made it to air. As far as viewers are concerned, it never existed. So there.)
Head Over Heels, an infantile, sex-crazed sitcom about two brothers running a Miami-based dating service, came into the fall with a big buzz--unfortunately the buzz said, "Worst New Show of the Season."
UPN's new-on-the-job programming chief looked over his network's slate of shows and reportedly found in Head Over Heels a show creatively not worth saving--even if its paltry ratings (it averaged a 2.3) were higher than its Tuesday night companion, Hitz. That Andrew Dice Clay effort has only been slightly less savaged by critics. But corporate synergy likely will save its bacon--for now. Hitz is produced by Paramount (the P in UPN); Head Over Heels is produced by rival Columbia.
Cancellation or no, Head Over Heels will stay in production as cast and crew complete work on the 13 episodes initially ordered by UPN. It will air through November.
In other developments from the TV ratings front, Week 2 of the 1997-98 season:
Who says couch potatoes are lazy? Viewers are going the distance to avoid Bryant Gumbel and his new CBS newsmagazine, Public Eye. Consider: At 8:30 p.m., on Wednesday, about 12 million people watched Murphy Brown. At 9 p.m., Gumbel showed up and some 3 million people tuned out. At 10 p.m., Gumbel left, Chicago Hope aired--and a whopping 5 million people returned home to CBS. (For this the Tiffany Network shelled out $25 million to the ex-Today anchor?)
Murphy Brown's numbers, by the way, may not have been as poor as Gumbel's, but they weren't exactly hefty, either. The sitcom is showing its age (10 seasons old), and getting beat big by ABC's strong freshman comedy, Dharma & Greg, which fell off only slightly from last week's series debut.
"Must She TV" ain't pulling its weight Monday nights for NBC. Bereft of last year's heavyweight lead-ins, sitcoms Suddenly Susan and Caroline in the City, are losing ground to the likes of Cosby and Cybill on CBS. ABC's Monday Night Football trumps them all.
Sponsorship troubles aside, ABC's Nothing Sacred is not long for this world. That's what happens when you draw single-digit ratings on one of the Big Four networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox).