TNT Carves Up 'Witchblade'


Despite a solid second-season ratings performance, Turner Network Television last week abruptly cancelled its only scripted original dramatic series Witchblade.

The sophomore fantasy series about a New York City police officer with superpowers averaged a 2.0 rating during its first two seasons and seemed poised to remain a breakout hit for the general-entertainment network.

But TNT executive vice president and general manager Steve Koonin said the series had run out of steam.

"The reason we cancelled Witchblade
was it was a limited series that played itself out," Koonin said. "We didn't see any really new exciting ground that hadn't been covered and we felt that to continue one more year didn't make sense."

The series' second season was plagued with several production stoppages due to Witchblade
star Yancy Butler's well-publicized, month-long stay at a rehabilitation center for treatment of alcohol abuse. Sources said this likely contributed to the show's demise.

TNT has struggled to find a hit series, and recently walked away from two critically acclaimed shows, Bull
and Breaking News.

Bravo earlier this year acquired the latter, but
the news-based drama series has averaged just a 0.3 rating for the network.

"What we need to do is find series that are interesting and compelling that work with our brand," Koonin said. "We have several that we will be announcing." He declined to elaborate.

Koonin added, though, that the network doesn't necessarily need a breakout scripted series to define the brand. "It is not a necessity to define the network — the network has been defined as a destination for drama and more people are watching us for drama than any other network," Koonin said.

"We have 44 weeks of original programming either through live sports or movies," he added. "We're the only cable network that has the variety of programming that we have."