It’s been a bumpy ride for Reba fans. The Reba McEntire series was The WB’s highest-rated sitcom for virtually all of its five seasons. You would think that high ratings would ensure that the show would continue on the CW. Not so.
The sitcom had received a two-year commitment from The WB network at the end of its fourth season so, last spring, fans believed their show was safe for an upcoming season six. In fact, when the UPN/WB merger was announced earlier this year, it was said that CBS’ leader Les Moonves sent word that the new CW network would honor the rest of the two-year commitment. The Reba cast and crew wrapped their shooting according to schedule on March 14, 2006.
A few weeks later, CW executives reportedly told 20th Century Fox TV (who produces the show) that they wanted to cancel the deal because the show didn’t attract the new CW’s “desired demographic.” As a result, the Reba fifth season finale, which was originally shot as a cliffhanger (Van and Cheyenne possibly breaking up), was re-edited to include a sentimental montage of images from the show’s run.
CW is said to have changed their mind about the cancellation when they realized they’d have to pay an eight-figure “kill fee” to 20th Century Fox TV. CW instead gave Reba a 13 episode renewal order but didn’t put the sitcom on the Fall 2006 schedule. Would they air?
Well, the wait is finally over. The sixth season of Reba will debut at 7pm on Sunday, November 19th with two new episodes. The following week, a Reba rerun will air at 7pm and a new episode will follow at 7:30pm.
Great news but keep in mind that the CW only committed to purchasing 13 episodes. If the ratings are good enough, it’s said that an order for nine additional episodes will be given — bringing the order to a full season of 22. The additional episodes would start airing by February 2007.
Production on the 13 episodes will be completed in early December so presumably the decision would have to be made soon if the 13th episode was to include any kind of closure for the series. Will that happen in time? Hard to say but, based on the sitcom’s rocky road last Spring, I’m guessing the Reba producers may have a few contingency plans up their sleeves. We’ll keep you posted so, stay tuned!