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NBC Cancels the Struggling Sitcom ‘Michael Richards Show’

TIMES STAFF WRITER

NBC has canceled “The Michael Richards Show,” a move that had been rumored for some weeks and which ends a high-profile failure for Richards, who was attempting a return to situation comedy after his beloved role as Kramer on “Seinfeld.”

From the beginning, the sitcom in which Richards played a private detective was beset by problems. The original pilot was thrown out, and sources say the show’s direction was repeatedly retooled and Richards would improvise on the fly, causing internal turmoil. Not long after the show’s launch in October, Spike Feresten, one of the sitcom’s executive producers, was let go, but the series continued to struggle at 8 p.m. Tuesdays.

For NBC, there were serious financial concerns with the sluggish ratings, given that the network had given Richards a 13-episode guarantee at what insiders put at about $1 million per episode. The show was produced jointly by Castle Rock Television and Warner Bros. Television.

The show’s last airing on NBC will be Jan. 2. On Jan. 9, NBC’s new Tuesday night lineup of sitcoms will feature “3rd Rock From the Sun” at 8, “Dag” at 8:30, “Frasier” at 9 and the new domestic comedy “Three Sisters” at 9:30.

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“Dateline NBC” will continue to air at 10.

Richards was the first of the ex-"Seinfeld” core cast to attempt a return to series television since the benchmark sitcom went off the air in 1998.


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