FOX’s much maligned new sitcom, Do Not Disturb, is checking out early, becoming the first casualty of the Fall 2008-09 season.
Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) directed the show’s pilot back in the Spring when it was still being called The Inn. Though the pilot was greenlit to a series, some recasting was done for subsequent episodes. FOX opted to kick off the series with the second episode but that left viewers confused about the show’s setup.
Based on the screener that had been sent to critics, most panned the series and told their readers to skip it. Most people did. Do Not Disturb debuted on September 10th to an audience of 4.8 million. The following week’s episode dropped to 4.1 million viewers and last night’s fell even further to 3.5 million.
In a last ditch effort, the show’s production team recently sent a letter to a group of TV critics, asking that the show be given a second chance. They admitted that the premiere episode wasn’t very good and urged them to watch another.
In part, the letter said, “We here at Do Not Disturb agree that by airing the ‘Work Sex’ episode — before airing the actual pilot — we created much confusion and we deserve all the criticism, the bad puns (i.e. ‘an early checkout from the fall season,’ ‘Do Not Make in the First Place,’ etc.) and, yes, even the accusation that it very well could be the final nail in the multicamera sitcom’s coffin.” They went on to say that, though they believe the show isn’t as bad as the critics claimed, they still apologize “for being the perpetrators of such bad television.”
In retrospect, this plea came a little too late. FOX has pulled Do Not Disturb from the schedule, effective immediately. The network will air double episodes of ratings challenged ‘Til Death next week. Though FOX has not confirmed the cancellation, industry sources confirm that the sitcom is indeed history. An official announcement is expected next week. Of the the 13 episodes ordered, it’s unknown how many have actually been produced or, if they’ll ever see the light of day. Stay tuned!