"Twin Peaks" isn't quite as dead as Laura Palmer, but the life signs are fading fast.
ABC announced that the gothic soap opera has been pulled from the Saturday night schedule, effective immediately. The network promises that the remaining six episodes will eventually be seen - although when that will be is anybody's guess."Peaks" started off with a bang almost a year ago. Its two-hour pilot film was a smash.
But the weekly ratings were never strong, and recently the show has plunged to the bottom of the Nielsen charts. Officially, "Peaks" is on hiatus, but only a miracle can bring it back for more than those six remaining episodes.
The creators of the show were quick to blame its Saturday night time slot.
"We've all known the true `Twin Peaks' fan is a party animal and not home on Saturday night, and they have sorely missed the opportunity to have a party on a weeknight," David Lynch said in a statement.
But while Saturday was a strange choice - and three pre-emptions in a row in December and January was a boneheaded move - Lynch and Co. have mostly themselves to blame for the show's problems.
"Twin Peaks" has been bizarre but intriguing and began with plots surrounding the mysterious murder of Laura Palmer. Viewers were treated to dancing dwarves, log ladies, psychopaths, power-hungry moguls and an evil spirit named Bob.
But the producers were often so taken with the mood they were creating that they forgot to advance the plot. It took forever to wrap up the Laura Palmer murder, and after being teased for months many viewers just gave up.
"Twin Peaks" has been, at times, among the best television had to offer. But it also was among the most frustrating shows for even loyal viewers.
Let's just hope that room remains for experimentation on network TV.
`UNDER COVER' UNDER WRAPS: ABC has also shelved "Under Cover," which has preceded "Twin Peaks" on Saturday nights. The combination family dra-ma/spy show has never caught on in the ratings. It too is on hiatus, but its future appears grim.
In place of the two shows, the network will air movies on Saturday nights at 8 p.m.
SHANNON'S BACK: "Shannon's Deal," which got generally good reviews and so-so ratings during a tryout last spring, will return to NBC on March 17 with a two-hour movie.
"Deal" deals with a former corporate attorney Jack Shannon (Jamey Sheridan) who lost his family and his practice because of gambling and drinking problems. He has straightened his life out and now defends the underdogs of society.
However, the series has still not received a spot on NBC lineup. Look for it sometime later in March.
GOO GOO GA GA: "Baby Talk," a sitcom based on the movie "Look Who's Talking," will finally make it on the air on Friday, March 8.
Originally announced as a fall show, "Baby" was pulled at the last minute when star Connie Selleca ("Hotel") quit or was fired, depending on who you talk to. (This is actually good, because Selleca was dreadful in the original pilot.)
Julia Duffy, who was the heiress/maid Stephanie on "Newhart," has stepped in to replace Selleca.
The bad news is that Tony Danza ("Who's the Boss?" will still be doing the voice of baby Mikey. And he was also dreadful in that pilot.
"Baby Talk" gets a special "preview" on March 15 at 7:30 p.m. after "Full House." The following week it moves to the Friday at 8:30 p.m. time slot, replacing "Going Places."
ABC says "Going" still has a chance of making the fall schedule, but let's hope not.