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Scott D. Pierce: There's no hope at all of reviving 'Everwood'

Published: Wednesday, July 19 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

PASADENA, Calif. — A lot of "Everwood" fans are spending a lot of money to rent a ferris wheel, which they think is going to help convince The CW to reconsider its cancellation of the series.

It won't. It's a lovely effort, but it's wasted.

The show is dead. Buried. Gone for good.

The fact is that, at this point, even if CW Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff wanted to bring the show back, it's too late. The sets have been torn down, the cast, production staff and crew have moved on to new projects, and putting it all back together again would be a Humpty Dumpty scenario.

So setting up the ferris wheel — an echo of the last scene in the final episode of the show — isn't going to sway Ostroff, even though she insists, "It was an agonizing decision when we decided not to bring 'Everwood' back. The fans were so devoted, and internally there were so many people who loved the show."

Ostroff said that several factors played into canceling "Everwood." One was the desire to put the new series "Runaway" — about a family on the run from the law for a crime the dad didn't commit — on the schedule.

"And the goal was — how do we give 'Runaway' the best lead-in we possibly could? And when you looked at '7th Heaven,' it's, believe it or not, the highest-rated show in viewers, total viewers, between both UPN and The WB," Ostroff said.

So when a deal was worked out to bring back "7th Heaven" for an 11th season, "Everwood" was toast.

Still, why would you bring back a dreadful show like "One Tree Hill" — a show with ratings lower than those of "Everwood" — and give the made-in-Utah show the boot? Because it's not just how many viewers you attract, it's who those viewers are.

" 'Everwood' also skewed much older. It was the oldest show out of either UPN or The WB," Ostroff said.

Keep in mind that The CW is aiming at viewers between the ages of 18 and 34. And that's the crowd that watches — albeit in relatively small numbers — "One Tree Hill."

Still, it's a bit non sequitur to hear Ostroff say that The CW's strategy was to pick the best shows from UPN and The WB and see that "One Tree Hill" made it into the mix.

"Now, I know 'One Tree Hill' is not a critic's darling," Ostroff understated, "but 'One Tree Hill' has a great audience for us. And when you look at the numbers in our demo, there was good reason to bring it back."

She said that research showed "a lot" of viewers watched both "Hill" and "America's Next Top Model" when they were scheduled opposite one another on different networks. She's hoping "Model" can provide a strong lead-in on Wednesday nights for "Hill" now that they're on the same network.

"And when 'One Tree Hill' was behind 'Gilmore Girls,' it was doing so well it could have been a bona fide hit if it had stayed there," she said. "So we felt there was a lot of room for that series to grow and wanted to give it more of a chance."

So . . . she feels bad about canceling "Everwood," but if she had it to do over again, she'd still do it. "It was a really painful decision. There were a lot of painful decisions in figuring out how you combine the schedules of these two networks and put the shows on that really make sense," Ostroff said.

As for the ferris wheel, Ostroff hadn't heard about the campaign. Asked to comment on it, her response was to talk about the devoted fans — of "7th Heaven" and "Veronica Mars," two shows that are on The CW's fall schedule.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com