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My So-Called Life Cancelled

Baltimore Sun
May 17, 1995

MSCL cancellation

Top rated ABC yesterday announced a fall schedule so conservative and seemingly uninspired that the biggest news is what isn't on it: The critically acclaimed, cutting edge "My So Called Life", starring Claire Danes and Baltimore native Bess Armstrong.

"It wasn't completely a shock, because, obviously, we were prepared for things not working out the way we wanted them to," Armstrong said yesterday in a telephone interview.

"But what was particularly disheartening to all of was that in recent weeks ABC executives had really gone out of their way to intimate that it (renewal) was practically a shoe-in.....The pressure from fans never stopped. Just two weeks ago, they had received 12,000 letters and phone calls because of the MTV run."

After the show went off the air in January, MTV purchased the rights to air it in rerun and has been doing so since April.

Armstrong declined comments on reports that one of the reasons ABC cancelled the series was that Danes' agent told the network that the teen actress, who appeared recently in the film "Little Women," was more interested in doing feature films than returning to the show.

Anna Marie Riccitelli, a network spokeswoman, said the decision on "My So Called Life" was "one of the most difficult ever faced" by the ABC Entertainment division.

"It remained a contender for the fall schedule until the very end due to the pride we had in carrying the series, as well as the support expressed by its audience," she said , adding: "Unfortunately,the performance of 'My So Called Life' last season and all indications for the future suggest that its apppeal was far too narrrow."

The series finished 116 out of 146 primetime shows this season, according to A. C. Neilson. Worse, it also finished 116th in the key 18-to-49 year old demographic. Neilson figures were not available for how the series has fared in rerun on MTV in recent weeks.

“I cannot bring myself to eat a well-balanced meal in front of my mother.”

Angela Chase, Episode 1: "My So-Called Life (Pilot)"