SINGLE OUT Sometimes the networks create their own headaches. Take Fox’s treatment of Living Single. For four years, the show — a key component of the network’s urban counterprogramming to NBC’s powerhouse Thursday lineup — proved to be a solid performer. Its reward? Fox canceled it last spring, to make room for the supposedly more male-friendly sitcoms Rewind and Between Brothers.
When Rewind got ejected, Fox rushed Living Single back onto the schedule — but with little fanfare. ”We were not getting any promotion from the network when we came back,” says Living Single creator Yvette Lee Bowser. ”In fact, we haven’t gotten any real promotion since the first year of the show.”
Even worse, Fox gave the resuscitated series a no-win time slot (grouped with the ratings-deprived Brothers and 413 Hope St.), which inevitably led to this ironic fate: Living Single got killed twice.
”A lot of people put a lot of themselves into the show, and there was no appreciation from Fox,” bemoans Bowser, who has a 13-episode commitment from NBC for the midseason sitcom You Send Me. ”Not even a farewell fruit basket.”
VARIETY PAX A seventh network? It’s tough enough staying excited about the other six. But that hasn’t stopped Home Shopping Network cofounder Lowell ”Bud” Paxson from trying to make his broadcast debut. Although Paxson does own 73 TV stations nationwide, they’re a pretty power-deficient group. ”There’s more snow on some of his stations than there is on the Weather Channel,” jokes one industry exec.
Currently, Paxnet, as the net will be called, airs infomercials, but starting mid-1998 it’ll roll out reruns of Touched by an Angel and other family-appeal shows, including Promised Land and Dave’s World.
Industry analysts wonder whether Paxson (who plans to spend $237 million annually and hopes to recoup $400 million in year one) can make his net fly. Paxson’s motto is ”Go where there is no path, and leave a trail.” Let’s just hope it isn’t a trail of debt.