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Stick a fork in it; these TV programs are done

Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

“Lipstick Jungle” returns to the wild. Put an X through “The Ex-List.” And “My Own Worst Enemy” never seemed to make any friends.

They are among the shows on the dead or dying list this season.

“Pushing Daisies,” the excellent, quirky fairy tale on Wednesdays, appears destined to live up to its name as well. ABC hasn't ordered any more episodes, and it looks like it will be curtains soon.

“Daisies,” magically fresh, debuted last season and was a hit among the critics, but never gathered a big audience. ABC, hurting for shows after the writers' strike, resurrected it this season but it has steadily lost viewers.

ABC put the ax to “Opportunity Knocks,” a Tuesday night disaster that involved a game show invading a new neighborhood each week. It lasted three episodes.

Fox put the hotel sex romp “Do Not Disturb” out of its misery after one month. “Easy Money” on the CW is likewise over.

Many veteran shows are in their final season, too, having run their course. Plan to bid farewell to “ER” on NBC, “King of the Hill” and “MADtv” on Fox and “Boston Legal” on ABC.

In cable, it's the last season for “The Shield” on FX, “Battlestar Galactica” and “Stargate Atlantis” on SciFi and “The L-Word” on Showtime.

No breakout hits have emerged this year on networks, though the CW has ordered more episodes of the teen angst comedy-drama “Privileged,” which follows the successful “90210” on Tuesdays. It is the network's strongest pairing, which helps make up for the failures of “Valentine” and “Easy Money” on Sundays.

NBC's bright spot among new shows this year is “Kath & Kim,” with Molly Shannon and Selma Blair as a mother-daughter dysfunction team. It bats second in the creatively strong but ratings-challenged Thursday night comedy block between “My Name Is Earl” and “The Office.”

Media Movers

A fixture on WCNC (Channel 36) for the last 10 years with his “Don't Be A Victim” feature, Dan Starks has gone international. A crew from the BBC crossed the pond to film him teaching his self-defense class for a story on firearms in the United States that aired the night before the presidential election. Jeremy Paxman, who Starks calls “kind of the Tom Brokaw of the BBC,” even went out to the firing range to try his hand with the trigger. Episode will air on BBC America at some point, says Starks. …

Providence High School senior Haley Batz, 17, battled back from zero in double jeopardy to wind up with $6,800 in the “Jeopardy!” annual teen tournament Thursday, but it wasn't enough to win. She missed the final question about whose statue stands in front of the Treasury building in Washington. It was Alexander Hamilton, first Treasury secretary. …

At Charlotte-based Speed channel, Erik Arneson, vice president of media relations, publishes another book, this one a biography of motorsports great Mickey Thompson, gunned down in his driveway in 1988.

Mark Washburn: 704-358-5007; mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com

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