CW Arrests Runaway

Just a day after fellow freshman dramas Ugly Betty and Brothers & Sisters received full season orders from ABC, newly minted netlet the CW has decided not to issue a reprieve to struggling family drama Runaway, cancelling the series after just three episodes.

The series, from Sony Pictures TV, starred Donnie Wahlberg and 24's Leslie Hope and was created by Chad Hodge. According to Variety, the studio had delivered six completed episodes of Runaway to the CW.

The move is hardly a surprising one, given the low numbers Runaway had brought in during its first (and only) three weeks on the air, averaging only 1.7 million viewers. Originally slotted for Monday nights at 9 pm, the CW issued a bit of a switcheroo last week, relocating timeslot lead-in 7th Heaven and Runaway to Sunday nights and moving its comedy lineup to Mondays. While it resulted in a bit of an uptick for critically acclaimed comedy Everybody Hates Chris and the rest of the lineup, the move sort of sank Runaway.

It also doesn't reflect very positively on the CW's president, Dawn Ostroff, as the now-cancelled Runaway was one of only two new series Ostroff ordered for the fall season (the other was comedy The Game), and she's now going into mid-October with only one new series on the air. If Runaway is indicative of the sort of programming that Ostroff orders and then quickly cancels, one can't help but be apprehensive about the future of the CW.

Still, the netlet has midseason drama Hidden Palms standing by, should they need to get it on the air sooner than expected. While the net will reportedly air series repeats in the slot vacated by Runaway, I hope that they won't do something stupid and slot Hidden Palms into that Sunday nights at 9 pm timeslot, opposite Desperate Housewives. But then again, Ostroff is the same network president who's only given Veronica Mars a 13-episode order for now, so I can't say I totally understand her thinking.

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Jace's blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionary.blogspot.com.