Fox cuts back orders for two sitcoms

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Variety reported today that Fox has cut back the orders for two sitcoms, the Emmy-winning but low-rated Arrested Development and the freshman series Kitchen Confidential, based loosely on the exploits of celebrity chef Tony Bourdain. In an even worse sign for the shows, Fox pulled them both from the schedule and will replace them with reruns of Prison Break for the remainder of the November sweeps period.

Fox reduced the order for Arrested Development from 22 to 13 episodes. The show has struggled to find an audience since its premiere in 2003, despite winning two Emmy awards and receiving accolades from critics. After a disappointing season premiere, its ratings had faded in subsequent episodes. The show just returned from a month-long hiatus last night, with two back-to-back episodes guest-starring Charlize Theron, but ratings failed to improve.

The producers of Kitchen Confidential, which was slated to return Monday, November 14, were told by Fox that the show wouldn't be getting a pickup for a full season. The sitcom, starring Bradley Cooper, follows the exploits of Jack Bourdain, a ne'er-do-well New York chef who has seen his former celebrity dim. He gets one last chance to grab some glory when a restaurant owner (Frank Langella) hires him to run his kitchen. Loosely based on the acerbic, ribald memoirs of renowned New York chef and writer Anthony Bourdain, the show received negative reviews and stumbled out of the gate with low ratings.

In January, Fox was planning to move the popular medical drama House into the 8-9 p.m. Monday time slot, but it is still believed the two sitcoms will return in December to complete their runs. The network was careful not to say the shows have been canceled, but in the case of Arrested Development, "award winning" rarely trumps "low rated."

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