"Drew Carey" Fades Out
Mon May 3, 2:30 PM ET
By Lia Haberman
Things that make you go huh.
After nine seasons, The Drew Carey Show is wrapping up this summer.
The news flash is a head-scratcher for many, considering the blue-collar comedy hasn't been on the air since last summer and is signing off without any of the fanfare surrounding all the other departing series this season.
While it sounds like a devious plot hatched by Mimi, ABC actually yanked the laffer after a ratings dip last season, leaving viewers in the dark about Drew Carey's fate. Now in a good news-bad news scenario, the Alphabet net plans to premiere 26 new episodes starting June 2 (with episodes airing two at a time on Wednesday nights) only to pull the plug on the show for good by the close of summer.
It's a bizarre ending for a once top-rated series.
The Cleveland-based comedy got off to a good start--within a year of its 1995 launch the show was a Nielsen top-20 mainstay, averaging 17 million viewers per week.
It also served as a launching pad for the show's titular lead, Drew Carey, who parlayed the network gig into jobs hosting ABC's imported British improv series Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the WB's Pepsi Play for a Billion and NBC's Last Comic Standing.
The Drew Carey Show did suffer a slight ratings drop in 2001 when it was scheduled against Survivor, but ABC felt confident enough at the time to ink a contract extension with Warner Bros. Television (the series' producer) through 2004 that would net the beer-loving Carey a champagne-style salary of $600,000 to $750,000 per episode.
But subsequent schedule shuffles that made the show hard for viewers to find and management shakedowns among ABC's upper ranks effectively shuttered the "Cleveland rocks!" series.
Not that Carey's crying into his brew.
The comedian has signed on to develop and executive produce an improv-meets-animation series for the WB titled Green Screen.
Taking a cue from Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the WB show features actors performing various improv games in front of a green screen. Backgrounds based on the topic of the scene are added in post-production through a variety of animation techniques, including stop-motion, claymation, 2-D, 3-D and CG animation.
Carey, whose first screen credit was "Taxi Passenger" in 1993's Coneheads, also lends his voice to the animated comedy Robots, scheduled for a March 2005 release.