Somebody glue some more hair on Keri Russell's head -- quick.
Keri Russell We can't stand it anymore -- the excuses, the laments about lagging ratings and, yes, Russell's offending doe-eyed do. The WB apparently can't, either. Hence, effective next month, the would-be "It" show will be bumped from its key Sunday time slot and padded off for the relative protection of Wednesday nights (and a "Dawson's Creek" lead-in).
No word if the Hair Club for Men (and TV Stars) is being contacted to ship in emergency supplies.
The time/day shift is effective April 5. Starting then, "Felicity," starring the shorned Russell, will air at 9 p.m. EST/PST on Wednesdays. The newbie sci-fi series "Roswell," the show currently holding down the post-"Dawson's Creek" slot, will be shifted to Mondays at 9 p.m. EST/PST to make way for the Floundering One.
For the season to date, "Felicity" is primetime's 130th most-watched show. While that's not far off from last year's 129th place finish -- its ratings are far off. During the 1998-99 TV year, the terribly thoughtful drama about terribly thoughtful New York university students averaged a 3.2. So far this year, it's averaging a 2.4 -- down 12.5 percent. In TV (or in college), that's known as a flunkable performance.
To anyone who will listen, the WB argues that a big reason "Felicity" isn't conning kiddies, er, attracting viewers is Russell's hair. Or lack thereof. Before the show's second season was a month old, Russell's once curly, lioness mane had been replaced by a prison-camp special.
"It was distinctive," WB exec Jamie Kellner told The Associated Press last month, "and we cut off our distinctiveness."
For the record, the bob wasn't Russell's idea. It was series creator J.J. Abrams's. And for the record, not everybody's buying it's-the-haircut's-fault line.
"Used to watch 'Felicity' religiously last season. But I dunno. Did they get new writers or something this year??," a cyberfan on the alt.tv.felicity newsgroup recently wrote. "This season has been total crap compared to last year. ... If they are losing ratings, then THAT is the reason."
For those of you keeping score at home, "Felicity's" Sunday time slot will be filled with the new twentysomething drama series "D.C.," set in, yes, Washington D.C.
CHANGING CHANNELS? Stuck in purgatory at Fox, Eddie Murphy's slap-happy housing-project toon "The PJs" might seek freedom (and airtime) at the WB.
Today's Daily Variety says the show's producers are in talks to jump networks next season. According to the trade paper, Fox has already declined to renew the series -- no surprise considering it bought a batch of new "PJs" episodes only to never air them. (It'll finally burn off the shows in the summer.)