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'Enlisted' skipper rallies support in last-ditch effort to save scuttled show

May. 30, 2014 - 01:41PM   |  
'Enlisted' drew mostly positive reviews and a die-hard following of viewers, many of them in the military, but it suffered from low ratings overall.
'Enlisted' drew mostly positive reviews and a die-hard following of viewers, many of them in the military, but it suffered from low ratings overall. (Fox)
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The captain of Fox’s scuttled military comedy “Enlisted” is hoping the show’s final four episodes — set to being airing June 1 — might just pack enough funny firepower to save his sinking ship.

“If we get even the slightest rating bump, it can help us live. This may seem like a fool’s errand, but even a little bit of hope is still hope,” writes “Enlisted” creator Kevin Biegel in a note to friends, supporters and “everyone whose email was ever in my inbox.”

Despite largely positive reviews, Fox executives killed the show even before its first season was over due to low ratings, pulling it off its scheduled weekly run in March.

Supporters were quick to point out that even the much-beloved “M*A*S*H” — whose 11-year run lasted nearly four times longer than the Korean war it lampooned — barely survived its first season for the same reason. Fans argued that given the chance, and a better time slot than a typically kiss-of-death Friday-night airing, “Enlisted” could rally better ratings.

A veteran of the “South Park” writing crew who went on to co-produce the medical comedy “Scrubs,” Biegel is now leading a last-ditch insurgency to do just that, if only to help the show find new life on another network.

“If anyone knows or knows of a Nielsen family, beg them to watch. Beg, really? That’s strong. How about ask?” writes Biegel. “I fear no one will know ‘Enlisted’ is coming back on the air for the final 4. If we can get even a slightly decent rating we can show a new home that this show has a real fan base.”

Indeed, if there was any hope of “Enlisted” returning to Fox, it may have died with the just-announced departure of the show’s most powerful supporter at the network.

Amid a network-wide ratings slump, Fox network chief Kevin Reilly said he was resigning in a statement released May 29. According a variety of industry reports, Reilly had fought to give “Enlisted” another season but was overruled by his bosses, including 21st Century Fox head Rupert Murdoch.

Whether “Enlisted” will find new life anywhere remains to be seen, but Biegel promises viewers won’t be disappointed with this season’s remaining episodes.

“These are the best four episodes we did,” Biegel writes. “The episode airing June 1, our first one back, is one of our funniest, and the finale is one of the best pieces of TV I’ve ever been lucky enough to be a part of. Even more than that ‘South Park’ episode with the mouse with the penis on its back, although that one was pretty good.”

The new episodes will air Sundays at 7 p.m. Eastern — for now — on Fox.

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