Luck Runs Out for Touted FX Series

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FX's half-hour dramedy Lucky has become the first original scripted series on cable to bite the dust this year.

The series, set in Las Vegas and starring John Corbett as a hard-luck professional gambler, failed to draw enough viewers to merit a second season, FX officials determined.

Lucky debuted on April 8 to a 2.2 household rating. By the fourth episode, it had lost more than half of those viewers.

The 13-episode run hit bottom in week 12, with a 0.65 rating, before finishing up with a 0.93.

FX spokesman John Solberg said the show was well-written and was received favorably enough. "Based on the quality of the show, it could have made it to a second season, but it never got off the ground" in terms of ratings, he said.

Lucky
was the second of three high-profile series FX launched in the past two years, sandwiched between critical and ratings hit series The Shield
and its most recent effort, Nip/Tuck.

Lucky
also struggled with "production problems," FX president Peter Ligouri acknowledged during the network's recent Television Critics Association presentation.

Nevertheless, the show garnered an Emmy writing nomination for the pilot episode.

The cancellation comes amid declining ratings overall at FX. The channel averaged a 0.8 rating from June 30 through July 27, down 11% from a 0.9 during July 2002. Its average adult 18-to-49 audience also suffered a double-digit decline, down 15% from last July.

While Lucky
failed to make the grade, another entry, The Orlando Jones Show, has shown improvement after a shaky start.

The late-night comedy/variety series is averaging a 0.25 household rating, but FX executives say it's beginning to gain momentum, particularly among adults 18 to 49.

The show drew a 0.8 rating on July 29, following the 3.0 household rating performance for the second episode of Nip/Tuck.

The story of two plastic surgeons, though, saw its audience sliced a bit, as 3.3 million viewers watched from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. that night, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

The second episode's numbers were down from a 3.2 household rating and 3.8 million viewers for the 90-minute series pilot on July 22.

Episode two also improved Nip/Tuck's numbers in the key adult 18-49 demo, drawing 2.1 million such viewers, 5% more than it did during its debut.

Nip/Tuck's performance must also be gauged in the context of squaring off against other strong cable reality fare during the hour, which featured MTV's Real World XIII and The Osbournes and Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which pulled record ratings for the NBC-owned network.

Given the competition, the demographic amelioration, the 3.1 household average and almost 3.6 million viewers on average, an FX spokesman said the network is pleased with the series' start.

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