They don’t call it the Hollywood shuffle for nothing. Last week ”Dawson’s Creek” creator Kevin Williamson left the hit WB series to focus on his new show, ABC’s ”Wasteland.” Scheduled to air in September, the hour-long drama about a group of struggling New Yorkers in their late 20s has already run into trouble. The pilot, which received lukewarm critical response, is being reshot to include an African-American character (originally slated to appear later in the series) and to change the profession of Rebecca Gayheart’s character from a private investigator to a legal secretary. ”I think it’s maybe a victim of expectations,” says Steve Miner of the show’s pilot, which he directed. ”But I don’t think that’s something Kevin worries about.”
What Williamson IS worrying about is breaking free of his status as America’s leading adolescent-only writer. ”I don’t think of myself as the voice of the teenage era, and I never have,” says the 34-year-old, who adds that ”Wasteland” deals with his own fears of ”seeing 30 coming like a dead-end wall” several years ago. ”I’m growing up as a writer, and I hope adults will accept ‘Wasteland,’ because my goal is to appeal to that late 20s to early 30s age range.” Not that his younger fans should feel abandoned. His directorial debut, ”Teaching Mrs. Tingle” (opening Aug. 20), features Katie Holmes as an overly ambitious high school student, ”Scream 3” is in the works, and ”Dawson’s” will go on without him.
Still, that doesn’t make it any easier for the cast and crew he left behind on ”Dawson’s.” ”It sort of feels like a divorce, not in a bad sense, and not that anyone harbors any animosity or bad feelings, but it just feels like we’re missing a limb,” says series star Michelle Williams. ”He is the father to the show, and I really hope that it’s passed on to someone with capable hands.” And someone with a few subtle plotlines for the new season wouldn’t hurt, either.