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'Prison' Breaks 'til March; 'Reunion' Ending Early

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

02:33 PM PT

The would-be escapees didn't make it over the wall on FOX's "Prison Break" Monday night, and now fans of the show will have to wait three-plus months before finding out what happens next.

Also at the network, the "Reunion" of six high-school classmates from 1986 won't make it all the way to 20 years. FOX has decided against a full season of the high-concept drama, in which each episode tracks a year in the lives of six friends who, in the present day, are embroiled in a murder mystery.

If the show proceeds in its current year-per-episode structure, it would end in 1998, well short of the present-day murder investigation that's driving the story. The show's writers could also skip some years in the remaining episodes; a spokesperson for Warner Bros. TV, which produces "Reunion," says a decision hasn't been made yet about how the series will conclude.

After a decent start to the season, "Reunion" has faltered of late in the rough 9 p.m. Thursday timeslot. It's averaging just 4.3 million viewers per week and loses about a third of the audience from its lead-in, "The O.C."

FOX has had no such problems with "Prison Break," which ended its fall run Monday (Nov. 28) with its biggest audience yet -- roughly 12.1 million viewers. The problem for the network is where to put the show when it does return.

Following Monday's episode, the network said the series would return in March, when we'll presumably learn more about the fate of death-row inmate Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), his brother Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) and the complicated conspiracy to frame Burrows for the crime for which he's about to be executed. FOX did not say, however, where on the schedule "Prison Break" would land.

The network first has to accommodate two of its bigger returning shows, "24" and "American Idol." Season five of "24" is scheduled to premiere Jan. 15, and "Idol" will likely follow soon afterward. There has been some speculation that FOX would shift "Idol" from its previous Tuesday-Wednesday schedule to Wednesday and Thursday, but no plans have been finalized.