ABC has announced that a new sitcom will debut next month. Notes from the Underbelly, a sitcom from director/producer Barry Sonnenfeld, will start on Wednesday, April 11th. In Case of Emergency will drop out to make room for Underbelly. Not a big surprise unfortunately.
In Case of Emergency centers around a group of old friends from high school. They’re at that stage of their lives when they realize their lives haven’t turned out as they expected. Through the events of one crazy evening, the group is reunited at a Los Angeles Hospital. The sitcom stars David Arquette, Jonathan Silverman, Greg Germann, Kelly Hu, Lori Loughlin and Jackson Bond.
Emergency debuted on Wednesday, January 3, 2007 on ABC. The series was paired with The Knights of Prosperity (recently pulled) and both were ratings challenged that night. Emergency actually lost viewers from Knights and attracted only a 3.9 rating (about 6.3 million people). Viewership hasn’t gotten any better, averaging only a 3.1 rating for the season.
As a result, In Case of Emergency is being pulled from the schedule after the April 4th episode. The network isn’t calling this a cancellation as yet and maintains that the series will return in the future. That’s not a big shock. What is surprising is that the network is pulling Emergency with just two original episodes left to air in its 13 episode run. Why not just air the 12th and 13th episodes?
Is ABC just giving up on the early Wednesday night timeslots? Sacrificing shows and biding time until ratings powerhouse American Idol is done? Interestingly enough, Underbelly is scheduled to run until May 30th when Idol is finished. Only seven of 13 episodes of Underbelly will have aired. Reality talent show The Next Best Thing: Who is the Greatest Impersonator? will take over after that. Will Notes from the Underbelly last that long? We’ll have to wait and see. Stay tuned!
3/20/07 UPDATE: ABC is now calling the April 4th episode the “season finale,” making it unlikely that the remaining episodes will air this season.