In the end, ''Touched by an Angel'' wasn't touching enough viewers. CBS announced Monday at the Television Critics Association previews in Hollywood that it's going to send the drama to TV heaven in May, after nine seasons and more than 200 episodes. While it was one of CBS' biggest hits of the '90s, drawing as many as 27 million viewers a week at its 1997 peak, ''Angel'' saw its ratings plummet to 8.1 million when the network moved it this season to Saturdays from its plum post-''60 Minutes'' slot on Sundays.
Still, CBS president Leslie Moonves had hosannas for ''Angel.'' ''This show's imprint on primetime deserves special recognition,'' he told Variety. He also said that the drama, which stars Roma Downey as a celestial do-gooder, would have a two-hour finale during May sweeps. On that episode, series creator Martha Williamson told the Associated Press, viewers will finally get to see what Heaven looks like. (No doubt Fox will counterprogram that night with an edition of ''Celebrity Boxing'' featuring catfights between rejected ''Joe Millionaire'' bachelorettes.)
The cancellation apparently does not reflect a lack of confidence in Williamson, who told AP that she happens to be developing a new show for CBS. ''Who wouldn't like to see their show go on... but I think the time is right,'' she said. ''God's timing is perfect.''