Vicki Lawrence, who has been battling her production company almost since the day her show began two years ago, won't be battling them anymore.
Group W has dumped her and her show, "Vicki!"And that's bad news for KSL-Ch. 5, whose afternoon lineup hasn't been exactly going like gang-bus-ters of late. "Vicki!," however, was a rather bright spot.
You may recall that the end of Lawrence's first season, her battles with the Group W executives caused her to walk out on the final two weeks of taping, claiming she was suffering from job-related stress. Eventually, both sides kissed and made up, and Lawrence's husband became one of the producers of her show.
Then last month, Lawrence began complaining again, saying that she wasn't getting enough support from Group W - and that they hadn't even congratulated her for her Daytime Emmy nomination.
Lawrence wondered publicly why Group W hadn't renewed "Vicki!" for a third season. Now she knows.
Group W is already out selling a replacement show, featuring former "Evening Shade" and "Taxi" star Marilu Henner. The company has already taped five episodes of "Marilu" and is offering the show to stations for the fall.
Lawrence, meanwhile, said that she's been contacted by a number of other distributors, leaving open the possibility that she'll be in direct competition with Group W in the fall.
At least that gives KSL a couple of options.
(And the syndicators are already swarming around KSL - sort of like vultures - trying to fill the soon-to-be-vacant afternoon time slot.)
FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT? ABC, which runs a content advisory before episodes of "NYPD Blue," has announced that it will soon begin running a blurb advising viewers that an upcoming program is "particularly enjoyable for family viewing."
There's no word on which shows will have such an advisory, but it's fairly predictable that shows like "Full House" and "Step by Step" will be included.
But I shudder to think what kind of families find those shows "particularly enjoyable."
TARTIKOFF ALIGNS WITH FOX: Former NBC programming genius Brandon Tartikoff is now aligned with Fox - sort of.
Tartikoff, who lifted NBC from last to first place in the ratings back in the '80s, has been named head of TV production at New World Communications Group Inc. He's also sold his own production company, Moving Target, to New World for $9 million.
Just last month, Fox acquired 20 percent of New World in a $500 million deal that could turn over as many as 12 Big Three network affiliates to FBC - eight from CBS alone. Included in that deal are plans for New World to develop series and movies for Fox as well as syndicated programming.
Tartikoff's Moving Target has already sold a late-night syndicated show, "Last Call," to stations covering 85 percent of the United States.
And, rather ironically, the first Moving Target production to actually make it on the air will be the movie "XXXs and OOOs" - which airs Tuesday night on, ahem, CBS.
THE SHOW THAT WOULD NOT DIE: If you thought - or hoped - we'd finally seen the last of the original "Saved by the Bell" gang when "Saved by the Bell: The College Years" was canceled by NBC, you were wrong.
(So was your local television editor.)
Believe it or not, NBC has announced plans for a made-for-TV movie titled "Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas," which will air in October.
It will pick up where "The College Years" left off, with Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Kelly (Tiffani Amber Thiessen) about to get married. The whole gang from both the original Saturday morning and prime-time shows reunites, and has various silly adventures along the way.
You know, your basic "Saved" plot.
At this rate, someday we'll be watching "Saved by the Bell" movies featuring Zack and Kelly's grand-children.
QUOTABLE: David Letterman on the "Late Show":
"The Supreme Court has ruled that Jehovah's Witnesses can be excused from jury duty - not for religious reasons, but because whenever they tried to get back into the jury room, no one would answer the door."