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Another Grim Development for 'Arrested'

Friday, November 11, 2005

02:01 PM PT

"Arrested Development" has escaped the cancellation ax through two award-winning but low-rated seasons, but the show's future looks more tenuous than ever now.

Earlier this week, FOX bumped the Emmy-winning "Arrested" (along with its Monday-night mate, "Kitchen Confidential") from its schedule for the remainder of November sweeps. Now comes word that the network has cut the show's episode order from a full season of 22 to 13, which a source close to the show confirms.

The reduced order, and the schedule commitments FOX already has for midseason -- most notably "American Idol" and "24" -- could well mean that "Arrested Development" is on its final legs at FOX. The network hasn't officially said the series is done, but the c-word -- cancellation -- has already popped up in news reports about the reduced order.

The series hasn't found many new viewers in its Monday-night home, averaging only 4.3 million viewers per week so far this season. In its first two seasons, it drew about 6 million viewers per episode as part of FOX's Sunday lineup.

"Arrested Development" has won six Emmys, including the award for outstanding comedy series in 2004. It and "Kitchen Confidential" are scheduled to return to FOX Monday, Dec. 5.

The latter show may not be long for the world either. It hasn't aired since the first week of October and generated little ratings heat in the brief time it was on.