'Roswell' Faces An Uncertain FutureBy Caillan
December 2, 2001 - 7:25 AM
While Buffy The Vampire Slayer has been a hit since moving to UPN, its fellow WB refugee Roswell has only achieved mediocre ratings, fuelling speculation that the network will cut this season's run short of the standard 22 episodes.
UPN chief executive officer Dean Valentine told Zap2it that the network is currently considering whether to start production on Roswell's remaining episodes for the season.
When the network picked up the series from the WB, it ordered a full 22 episode season for the series, but with the option of cutting that back to only 13.
"We're getting very close to making a decision. My best guess is that this is a show that deserves a little more time to find itself," Valentine said.
The network plans to test two new series in the Tuesday 9 p.m. timeslot during Roswell's re-run period. These are an American version of the British comedy As If (story), and Random Years, which centres around three flatmates in New York.
Valentine stressed that this is only an experiment. "That doesn't mean Roswell is cancelled," he said.
According to trade paper Variety, insiders have speculated that UPN might only cut Roswell's season down to 19 episodes instead of the more drastic 13.
A report at fan site Crashdown.com indicated this may be the case, with Brendan Fehr's (Michael) manager reportedly telling the site that the show had been renewed through to episode 19. UPN, however, has yet to formally announce any decision on the future of the alien sci-fi series and may yet still order all 22 episodes.
Roswell, now in its third season, has achieved less than spectacular ratings this year, especially in comparison to its lead-in show Buffy. In the key Adults 18-49 demographic, Roswell has averaged a 1.4/3 rating, in contrast to Buffy's 2.6/7. This is no doubt due to strong competition from the WB's new Superman show, Smallville.
The series has a number of Trek veterans on its staff - Jonathan Frakes (Will Riker) and writer Ronald D. Moore serve as executive proudcer and co-executive producer respectively. Additionally, former Voyager scribe Lisa Klink filled the role of co-producer during Roswell's second season.
UPN's final decision is expected to be announced within the next few weeks.