It's only after a period of intense mourning that the process of healing can begin. And so now with the last trace of despair completely gone, we can finally start asking a question we were once unable to face: Namely, how could Jennifer Love Hewitt's first starring series, "Time of Your Life," be shoved off the air for good? What, we dare ask, caused a budding starlet - once a shining light for a generation of "Party of Five," "Can't Hardly Wait" and "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" viewers -- to lose her dominance?
"What happened? Well, [the show] launched weak, and just got weaker. Within five weeks, it hit low. Fox needs to protect 'Ally McBeal,'" reporter Mark Penton of Tvindustry.com tells Hollywood.com. "'Time' was pulling in a third less than 'Melrose Place' a year before. And 'Ally McBeal' is a crowning jewel -- you got to put something good before to protect it."
The fate of "Time of Your Life" was sealed last Thursday when Fox unveiled its new fall lineup -- and Hewitt's teenybopper show was missing from its usual Monday night slot, and from all the other ones, too.
A spotlight for the Sarah Merrin character Hewitt played on "Party of Five," "Time of Your Life" bowed last fall to lukewarm critical response. And bad ratings notwithstanding, the show's cancellation -- along with the departures of Fox anchors "PO5" and "Beverly Hills, 90210" -- may be more indicative of a changing trend in teen television.
"[If you look at] the schedule as a whole, there's no longer a place for 'Time of Your Life,' Penton says. "Fox is going edgier and there's no more 'Party of Five' or 'Time of Your Life'-type shows. [The network] is putting in a really aggressive lineup."
Penton, for one, doesn't think her show's poor performance isn't likely to affect Love Hewitt's career.
"I think people [still] like her, but they just didn't like the show."
One would hope. If one's name were Jennifer.