Case Closed for A&E's 'Centre'

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Unable to drive ratings, A&E Network last week pulled the plug on its highly touted, night-court drama 100 Centre Street.

Supervised by Academy Award-nominated director Sidney Lumet, the New York-produced program earned critical kudos when it began in January 2001, but it couldn't maintain enough ratings traction for its second season of episodes, which kicked off a few weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist acts.

After averaging a 1.8 household rating during its first season, the show was only able to muster a 1.0 rating thus far in its second season. A&E tried to drum up more interest for 100 Centre Street
through a change of nights and an all-day marathon of past episodes last month, but ultimately to little avail.

"100 Centre Street
was well-acted and well-written, receiving a great deal of critical acclaim and strong ratings in its first season," said an A&E spokesman. "However, after a terrific first year and a strong start this past fall in the second season, the series didn't gain momentum with viewers."

The show — featuring an ensemble cast led by Alan Arkin and LaTanya Richardson — cost A&E about $900,000 per episode, which, while expensive, is still below the average cost of broadcast and some other cable drama series that can range from $1.3 million to $1.5 million per installment.

The network spokesman said that A&E remains committed to launching a second season of its original series Nero Wolfe
in April. "There are additional series possibilities that we are exploring," said the spokesman, refusing to provide further details.

Lumet is working with A&E on another project, the limited series May It Please the Court, which will feature dramatizations of Supreme Court oral arguments scripted by Gore Vidal.

A&E is the second network in recent months to announce the cancellation of an established original series. Last October, Lifetime Television said that its popular Sunday-night series Any Day Now
would end its four-season original run. The skein will conclude March 10 with a two-hour finale.

Lifetime, though, recently ordered pilots for a pair of primetime dramas, For the People
and Fiona, either of which could debut this summer to replace Any Day Now. The female-skewing service is expected to strip Any Day Now
weekdays, starting this summer.

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