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NBC cancels 'Coupling'

'Bernie Mac' premiere postponed until after sweeps

"Coupling" never caught on with viewers.

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Entertainment (general)
Bernie Mac

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) -- NBC's freshman comedy "Coupling" reached the point of no return as the network officially canceled the racy sitcom Friday.

And fans of "The Bernie Mac Show" will have to wait until the end of the November sweep for the return of Fox's edgy family comedy.

"Bernie Mac," originally slated in the Wednesday 9 p.m. slot, was moved in September to the plum post-"Simpsons" Sunday 8:30 p.m. period, with the third season of the comedy starring Mac scheduled to launch Sunday.

Now, the network will run repeats of "The Simpsons" in the 8:30 p.m. slot for the four weeks of the sweep, pushing the season premiere of "Bernie Mac" to November 30.

To avoid "Simpsons" overload on the West Coast, the "Simpsons" repeat scheduled to run during the sweep at 7 p.m. will be replaced by a repeat of "King of the Hill" leading into a "King of the Hill" original at 7:30 p.m.

On the East Coast, the Sunday 7-7:30 p.m. half-hour is preempted for football coverage.

The networks traditionally rely on reruns of their strongest performers to boost their ratings tally during the important sweep periods, which is used by local stations to set ad rates.

For the current sweep, NBC has added three hours of repeats of its formidable "Law & Order" franchise a week in addition to the three regularly scheduled episodes.

Ten episodes of "Coupling's" 13-episode order have been completed. The "Friends"-like show, based on a hit English comedy, was on hiatus when the cancellation notice was received. Production is not expected to resume.

In its four airings, "Coupling" has struggled to connect with viewers in the high-profile Thursday 9:30 p.m. slot, most recently dragging "ER" to record demo and viewer lows for an original episode.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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