Bernie Mac's been sacked, but it'll be back. So said Fox in an announcement on Monday, noting that production had halted on The Bernie Mac Show, so its season premiere won't air Nov. 3 as scheduled. The reason is not low ratings, Fox insisted, but rather the exhaustion of its 46-year-old star. Bernie Mac spent the summer making two movies (Ocean's Twelve and Guess Who, the remake of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner that costars Ashton Kutcher), promoting his September film release Mr. 3000, and shooting new episodes of his self-titled sitcom. ''Bernie should be fully recovered in a matter of weeks, production will then resume, and the series will return to the schedule,'' the statement said.
It's not just Mac who's tired; so are the ratings for his show. Previously unaired episodes shot before this summer that have aired this fall have averaged fewer than 6 million viewers. Fox did not say when Bernie Mac would be back, only that production would cease for four weeks. Meantime, debuting in Bernie Mac's place on Nov. 3 will be Nanny 911, a U.S. version of a British reality show about a Fab Five-like team of babysitting specialists who swoop in to help parents with child care challenges. Sounds like the kind of service the fictional Bernie Mac could use on his show.