Once and Again...Once Again


contributed by Elizabeth Angela, Debbie Marshall and others
compiled and gathered daily by Sue Kaliski

This page features current news related to the show,
cast, directors, etc. Previous news can be found in
News Archives

Update on Possible Season 3 DVD Release from www.tvshowsondvd.com

7/3/2007: Gord Lacey at tvshowsondvd reported today that there may be hope for Once and Again's third season to be released. Please visit here to read about his recent talk with the person in charge of licensing for ABC shows. While you're there, show your support by voting for season three's release.

Once and Again - Press Release: Once and Again Season 2

Posted by Gord Lacey

If you thought the idea of Once and Again season 2 actually being released was a dream, then this press release should be the pinch you need; you're not dreaming. Don't forget that this title is already available for purchase, along with season 1. Check out our Release Info page for more information.

Emmy Award Winner Sela Ward and Bill Campbell Star In ONCE AND AGAIN SEASON TWO

BURBANK, Calif., April 26, 2005 - Buena Vista Home Entertainment presents ONCE AND AGAIN Season 2, on DVD August 23. From Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, the creators of the acclaimed TV series "thirtysomething" and "My So-Called Life," ONCE AND AGAIN stars Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Sela Ward ("The Day After Tomorrow") and Bill Campbell ("Enough," TV's "The O.C.") in the acclaimed drama series that follows the relationship of a divorced dad (Campbell) and a separated mother (Ward), and their ties to their extended families. Season 2 features the unforgettable proposal and marriage between the two stars and includes all 22 episodes from the show's second season in a 5-Disc DVD box set. Also included is episode commentary with creators Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz.

Sela Ward won the 2002 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and the 2000 Emmy Award for Best Actress for her performance in ONCE AND AGAIN. The series also earned four Golden Globe nominations and four Emmy nominations.

Also available on DVD: ONCE AND AGAIN SEASON 1.

STREET DATE: August 23, 2005
Suggested retail price: $59.99 (5-disc DVD)
DVD aspect ratio: 1.33:1, formatted 4x3
DVD Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Sound

In ONCE AND AGAIN, a divorced man (Bill Campbell) and a soon-to-be-divorced woman (Sela Ward) struggle with their relationship as they balance the needs of their kids and their careers. They face many challenges that push them to the limit, both as a couple and as individuals - parenting, divorce, infidelity, financial hardship, and even death. But they continue to move forward with a life together, while they try to maintain a semblance of normalcy in the lives of their conjoined families. ONCE AND AGAIN uniquely lets the viewer into the characters' minds through brief "interviews" mixed through the show's episodes.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment, an industry leader, is committed to showcasing great television on DVD. BVHE has responded to consumer demand by providing an ever-increasing amount of quality television entertainment in the collectible DVD format. BVHE's superbly mastered DVD box sets include "Alias," "The Golden Girls," "Home Improvement," "Felicity," "Popular," "Boy Meets World," "Sports Night," "Once And Again," and "Sweet Valley High." Upcoming box sets include the blockbuster series "Lost," "Desperate Housewives," the unique comedy "Scrubs," "Tilt," and more.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. is a recognized industry leader. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. is the marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax, Dimension and Buena Vista videocassettes and DVDs. __TVShowsonDVD (April 29, 2005)

'Once,' 'Sports,' 'Felicity' Get New Life on DVD

By Scott Hettrick

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Less than a week after Fox announced it would bring last season's innovative drama "24" to DVD with unprecedented speed on Sept. 17, Disney said it would release the full seasons of acclaimed-but-short-lived ABC series "Once and Again" and "Sports Night," as well as "Felicity," all on Nov. 5.

Both "Felicity," which aired on the WB, and "Sports Night" were produced by the TV arm of Imagine Entertainment, which was based at Disney at the time. "Once and Again" was canceled last season after moving around the ABC primetime schedule for several seasons in an effort to expand on its small but passionate audience.

Each boxed set will be priced at $79.99. The "Felicity" and "Once and Again" sets include the first season and pilot episodes. The "Sports Night" set includes all episodes from the series. __ Yahoo! News (July 17, 2002)

"Casting Call"

Evan Rachel Wood ("Once and Again") will star in the indie feature "Thirteen" for writer-director Catherine Hardwicke. The film, which also starts Holly Hunter, Kip Pardue and Jermey Sisto, will see Wood star as Tracy, a troubled girl who finds her life spinning out of control when she befriends a classmate whose instability in concealed beneath a cool exterior. Wood, repped by ICM, next appears in New Line Cinema's "Simone." __ Hollywood Reporter (July 12, 2002)

Teen Star Evan Rachel Wood Urges Peers to Read This Summer

Actress Evan Rachel Wood, Teen Chair of the BOOK IT! Families Advisory Board, is urging kids and teens to make reading fun this summer. "BOOK IT! Families emphasizes that reading aloud isn't just for young children. Reading is something older kids can enjoy on their own, and share with younger siblings and their own friends," she said.

Wood, who starred in the ABC television series "ONCE AND AGAIN," will appear in the feature film "SIMONE" with Al Pacino, slated to open in August. An avid reader, she grew up in a family with a love for reading and books and wants to share those positive experiences with her own generation. "I just want to remind kids how fun and entertaining reading can be," notes Wood. "Reading is a pleasure when you find subjects you're passionate about." __ PR Newswire (June 14, 2002)


Once and Again DVD news

A quick note: Thanks to everyone that wrote in to point out that ABC's "Sports Night" will indeed be heading to DVD. Look for a six-disc set of all 45 episodes to hit stores on November 5 from Buena Vista Home Video. We've also had multiple confirmations that first season DVD sets of "Once & Again" and "Felicity" (both also from Buena Vista) will both be offered up that same month. __thefutoncritic.com (June 13, 2002)

Mia Farrow Set to Star in the Lifetime Original Movie 'On The Edge' (Working Title); 'Once and Again' Star Julia Whelan Will Play Farrow's Daughter

Golden Globe winner Mia Farrow will star in the Lifetime Original Movie "On the Edge" (working title) premiering this August, it was announced today by Trevor Walton, Senior Vice President, LIFETIME Original Movies.

In the film, Farrow ("Hannah and Her Sisters," "Rosemary's Baby") will play the role of a divorcee whose honor-student daughter is secretly addicted to prescription drugs. Julia Whelan ("Once and Again") is cast as the troubled teenager. "We are delighted to have Mia Farrow star in this project," commented Walton. "Not only is Ms. Farrow a wonderful actor, she is a mother of fourteen who will bring her own unique insight to this role. We also are excited to have Julia Whelan star as the teenage daughter," continued Walton. "Julia is an amazing young actor whose talent far exceeds her years. Together, these two wonderfully gifted women will help create a very exciting movie."

In "On the Edge," a divorced couple is shocked and in denial when they learn that their bright 16-year-old daughter is secretly addicted to prescription drugs. After she's involved in several disturbing incidents, the parents can only conclude their daughter's actions are mostly those of a rebellious teenager. It's not until her near fatal overdose that it becomes apparent just how extensive their daughter's drug problem is. The parents admit her to a rehab center, and during the course of her therapy, both parents come to terms with their daughter's recent pain and alienation.

Mia Farrow has created a diverse repertoire of characters throughout her career. In 1966, Farrow picked up her first Golden Globe nomination for Best Female TV Star for her role in "Peyton Place." Two years later, her big film break came when she landed the part of the fragile Rosemary Woodhouse in Roman Polanski's horror classic "Rosemary's Baby." She has starred in such memorable films as "The Great Gatsby" and "Death on the Nile," among others. Her other notable feature film credits include "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy," "Hannah and Her Sisters," "Crimes and Misdemeanors," "Husband and Wives," "Shadows and Fog" and "Alice," for which she received a Golden Globe Award. She also starred in the feature films "Miami Rhapsody," "Reckless" and "Forget Me Never," for which she received a Golden Globe Nomination. She recently starred in the cable film "A Girl Thing," the independent film "Coming Soon" and "Purpose." She is also author of memoirs of her life entitled "What Falls Away."

"On the Edge" is produced by Patricia Clifford Productions in association with Viacom Productions for LIFETIME Television. Patricia Clifford ("Three Blind Mice," "Death of a Salesman") is the executive producer. Robert Mandel directs ("A Season on the Brink," "Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story") from a script written by Betty Goldberg ("Thrill," "Leave of Absence"). __ PR Newswire (May 16, 2002)

The Awful Truth (item on Sela Ward)

Someone I'd wager might share similar feelings of loyalty was the evening's host, Sela Ward.

As the charitable soiree's theme was "Peace and Love," I asked the star of the canceled Once and Again just how much peace and love she was feeling toward her network.

Looking amazing, quelle surprise, in a Saturday Night Fever-inspired Dolce & Gabbana white suit, the charming dark-haired star didn't exactly ooze benevolence.

"Unfortunately," she explained (peacefully enough), "I'm not released from my contract until they announce the fall schedule next week."

Damn! Mere hours later, S.W.'s lips were unsealed--sure that would have been a pumpkin of a press release.

Nevertheless, sometimes the simpler answers say so much. Which made me wonder what, exactly, would S.W. like to erase from her life.

"The frenetic pace," she answered with barely a second's hesitation. __e!online (5/16/02)

'Once and Again' Fans Buy Billboard (AP)

Fans of canceled ABC series "Once and Again" have spent thousands of dollars for a billboard ad to step up efforts to bring back the show.

The faces of series stars Sela Ward and Billy Campbell are smiling down on a major West Hollywood intersection, thanks to efforts by the fans, who have been successful in past efforts to save the low-rated show. "Dear ABC, Bring back the magic 'Once and Again,'" the billboard reads.

The ad cost more than $12,500, which was raised by fan donations, a spokeswoman for the fans said. It will stay up for one month.

ABC announced the cancellation of the critically acclaimed series in March. The show premiered in September 1999 and has followed the romance of divorced parents Lily and Rick, played by Ward and Campbell, as they began a new life together.

Fans are lobbying ABC in hopes that it will change its decision before May 14, when the network announces its fall lineup to advertisers.__ Yahoo.com (May 2, 2002)

Once and again, fans try to save ABC show

Fans of the ABC drama Once and Again have taken their campaign to save the show to the streets. The "Save Once and Again Campaign" paid $12,000 to rent a billboard at the intersection of La Cienega Drive and Halloway Drive in West Hollywood. ABC declined to renew the show for a fourth season.__ USA Today (May 2, 2002)


Fans of the canceled ABC series Once and Again spending more than $12,000 on a Hollywood billboard asking the network to bring back the show. __ E! Online (May 2, 2002)


Die-hard fans of Once and Again won't give up on supercouple Sela Ward and Billy Campbell. A group of drama devotees has raised over $20,000 in fan donations to erect a billboard in L.A.'s West Hollywood as well as buy ads in the Tinseltown trade papers - all in hopes of moving ABC to renew the show for a fourth season. __ TVguide.com (May 2, 2002)

Billboard urges ABC to save 'Once and Again'

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) - "Once and Again" fans are taking their campaign to revive the canceled ABC drama to the street.

A billboard pleading with the network to "Bring back the magic, Once and Again," went up Thursday at a West Hollywood intersection.

The $12,350 monthly cost of the billboard was subsidized through donations collected by a fan site that Marc Levenson, a Fort Worth, Texas, businessman, helps run.

"Even if (the series) isn't renewed, we will be directly in Michael Eisner's face for a month!" Web master Melinda O'Brien says on the site. Eisner is chairman and chief executive of The Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC.

Despite repeated entreaties by fans, the network has said it's sticking by its decision to cancel the low-rated show about divorce and remarriage after three seasons. Sela Ward and Billy Campbell starred. ___ Sacramento Bee (May 2, 2002) also appeared on abcnews.com, iwon.com, netscape.com

Once and Again' Fans Unveil Billboard

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - "Once and Again" fans are a tenacious bunch, not to mention in possession of some disposable income.

The never-say-die campaign to bring back the show, which ABC cancelled last month, has taken to the streets. Not with picketing (been there, done that), but with a 14-by-48-foot billboard in Hollywood that reads simply, "Dear ABC, Bring back the magic Once and Again." The signage went up on Thursday, May 2 and will remain there for one month.

The campaign's coordinators have raised more than $22,000 for their mission to bring back the Sela Ward-Billy Campbell blended family drama. However, of the $12,350 of needed to pay for the billboard located of La Cinega Boulevard and Halloway Drive in West Hollywood, or at http://www.saveoanda.com/Billboard/BillboardMechanical3.jpg for those who don't live in the Los Angeles area, they've only scraped together $10,700. Needless to say, donations are still being taken.

"I would like to propose that we continue to fan the flame and catch Michael Eisner's tail on fire," says Saveoanda.com's webmistress Melinda O'Brien, referring to Walt Disney's (the company that owns ABC) CEO.

Oddly enough, the fans' refusal to go away may ultimately pay off. Although ABC aired the supposed series finale on April 15, numerous outlets have reported that none of the stars have not been released from their contracts, and while the sets have come down, they remain intact and in storage. Rumor has it that the struggling network is displeased with the pilots its seen for next fall and might bring "Once and Again" back for one more go-around.

ABC will announce its 2002-03 schedule on Tuesday, May 14 at the upfront presentation to advertisers in New York. ___Zap2it.com (May 2, 2002)


Fans of the canceled ABC drama "Once and Again" have taken their campaign to save the show to the streets, a spokesperson for the group told PEOPLE.com. The "Save Once and Again Campaign" paid $12,000 (collected from personal contributions) to rent a billboard at a busy intersection in West Hollywood to express their anger. "We will not give up our fight," said Lynda Shulman, a member of a Web site calling itself saveoanda.com__People.com (May 2, 2002)

"Once and Again"...Once Again?

by Mark Armstrong
Apr 22, 2002, 3:00 PM PT

It's the show that refuses to die.

Just like Elvis sightings, it seems ABC's romantic drama Once and Again is living beyond its death--which supposedly occurred in a series finale last Monday night.

Or did it?

First, the Drudge Report claimed that ABC, unhappy with its latest crop of pilots, ordered producers not to tear down the set and told the show's stars to keep their schedules open for a possible fourth season. Now, show costar Billy Campbell tells TV Guide Online that he received a phone call from his Emmy-winning costar Sela Ward saying they might still have jobs.

"She called and said, 'Have you heard? It's not definite that we're canceled," he said. "Apparently on the same day that they canceled us, [ABC] called the studio and said, 'Don't knock down the sets, don't release the actors, and why don't you work us up a tentative budget for a Year Four.'

"I don't know what to think," he added. "They can't even kill us with dignity."

No word on whether Ward was simply reading the Drudge Report for her information, or whether the network really is considering reviving the critically acclaimed series from Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz.

By all official indications, ABC is sticking with its original announcement--that it's over. Said a network spokeswoman Monday: "Officially, all we can say is that Once and Again has had its series finale on ABC."

No one may know for sure until May 14, when ABC announces its fall lineup to advertisers. The show's April 15 finale ended on a nostalgic note, with its stars speaking to the camera about how the series has affected them.

Once and Again fans, whose previous "Save Our Show" campaigns were successful, continue to email ABC to bring the series back. But more signs have appeared that Once and Again is truly gone: ABC on Monday finally pulled down the show's message board from its Website. "That's not good," noted Catherine Challenger, who runs the Once and Again fan site OandAfans.com, and helped pay for another ad that ran Monday in Daily Variety urging ABC to bring the show back.

But "we are still campaigning," she added. "There's a lot of conflicting information coming out right now, and I'm not really sure what to believe. I'm still hopeful, but I think it's getting less likely that it will come back."

Herskovitz, meanwhile, is remaining realistic about the show's chances.

"I was told we're not coming back, so I'm working under that assumption," he tells the Philadelphia Inquirer. "But if all ABC's development fails, it's remotely possible they could bring us back. It would make them look good."

That, of course, means Herskovitz would have to walk away from his role producing the upcoming Tom Cruise flick The Last Samurai, which starts shooting this fall in New Zealand. But he insists that he'll be ready if Once and Again lives on.

"It's complicated," he adds. "I'd hate to see the show die. On the other hand, I've already accepted the reality. If they bring it back, I will be there."__ E! Online.com (April 20, 2002)


By Post staff

April 22, 2002 -- 'ONCE and Again is not dead yet.

The show's star Billy Campbell confirmed rumors that the series may return in the fall for a fourth season - despite the fact that last Monday's episode was advertised by the network as its finale.

Co-star Sela Ward, broke the news to him last week.

"She called and said, 'Have you heard? It's not definite that we're canceled,' " he told TV Guide Online.

"Apparently, on the same day that they cancel us, [ABC] called the studio and said, 'Don't knock down the sets, don't release the actors, and why don't you work us up a tentative budget for a Year Four.'

"I don't know what to think . . . They can't even kill us with dignity," he said.

The series - about two divorced parents who fall in love - has garnered a passionate following.

Still, even last week, network officials were saying the series had been ended." __ NY Post (April 22, 2002)


Once and Again actor Billy Campbell is confirming rumors that his acclaimed ABC series may return in the fall for a fourth season — despite the fact that last Monday's episode was billed by the network as the show's series finale. Campbell's leading lady, Sela Ward, broke the news to him last week. "She called and said, 'Have you heard? It's not definite that we're canceled,'" he tells TV Guide Online. "Apparently, on the same day that they cancel us, [ABC] called the studio and said, 'Don't knock down the sets, don't release the actors, and why don't you work us up a tentative budget for a Year Four.' I don't know what to think.... They can't even kill us with dignity." __ TVGuide.com (April 19, 2002)

Cancelled series 'Once and Again' set stays up, actors not released; Sela Ward faints during production of finale

'Once is not enough

NY Daily News (gossip section) Is "Once & Again" really over and out?

ABC advertised last night's episode as the "finale" of the drama. But some wonder if the network execs have made up their minds about cancelling the series, now in its third season.

The show's sets have yet to be destroyed and its lead actors were told not to pursue other projects, industry insiders tell the Drudge report. "An ABC spokeswomen would not rule out a reprieve for the show, but told us that there's no rush to tear down the set since it's in an industrial warehouse and not on a studio lot. As for the actors, the rep said, It's typical to tell them not to pursue other projects since they're under contract until May."

"Once and Again" star Sela Ward could probably use some downtime. She had to be taken to the hospital after scenes about a mother's battle with Alzheimers's hit to close to home; Ward's mother died last month or cancer. Having just flown back from her mom's funeral in Mississippi, a friend tells us, Ward found the script "emotionally overwhelming...She went into her trailer and started crying" The friend said insurance rule required calling an ambulance, but that she's doing better now" __NY Daily News (April 16, 2002)


By Matt Drudge

LOS ANGELES -- The set of the "canceled" DISNEYABC series ONCE AND AGAIN has not been destroyed, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, just as lead actors of the drama have been told they cannot pursue other projects.

The developments raise a possibility that ABC has not completely ruled out bringing back the program.

"The new pilots for Fall are coming in horribly weak," whispers a top network source in Burbank. "All options may need to be considered. It's going to be a scramble."

[Despite being moved into seven different time slots over its three year run, ONCE AND AGAIN pulled in more viewers last week than DISNEYABC's renewed DREW CAREY. ABC sets its new schedule in mid-May.]

Meanwhile. actress Sela Ward dramatically collapsed during production of this week's emotional finale [Monday 10 PM ET/9 PM CT], the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.

Ward, who was taken to the hospital, fainted on the set from stress and high-blood pressure.

"She had just lost her mother," says a ONCE AND AGAIN insider. "DISNEY only shut down production for a week, to allow her some healing, before she was ordered back."

The uncertainty of the show's fate added to Ward's fragile emotional state, says the insider.

"We all loved working on this series, with all our hearts and souls, we all feel like we're dying."

The show's finale was shot over 8 days. Production wrapped on March 20. [Ward returned to do pickups, missed after her collapse, the following week.]

The closing scenes include a controversial break in The Fourth Wall, which has led to wide-speculation among production staffers that creators Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick want out -- even if DISNEYABC U-turns and comes home to conscience.

The superduo continue to expand into movies. Zwick is directing a new Tom Cruise fuss-film being produced by Herskovitz.

As the lights come and the camera pulls back -- ONCE AND AGAIN fans and lovers of intelligent entertainment may find direction from the bumper sticker featured on the Range Rover driven by Ed Zwick's wife.

It simply reads: "KILL YOUR TV"

There was not a dry eye in the house during a warp party held at GOTHAM as a special retrospective ONCE AND AGAIN video played. Cast and Crew plotted their futures and smiled on their recent past. "I know I'll never be this happy professionally again, this proud of my work," giggled a top star choking tears. __ www.drudgereport.com (April 14, 2002)

TV Scoop

By Kimberley Potts

[review of finale snipped]
By the way, the diehards at a Once and Again fan Website are not ready to throw in the towel just yet. "Save our show" organizers from the site are planning a fan protest for April 15, outside the ABC offices in Burbank. Meanwhile, Lifetime, which has been running the "repurposed" episodes of Once and Again each week after their original ABC broadcast, is planning a Once and Again marathon for this summer. __ E!Online.com (April 13, 2002)


"Once and Again," consistently the finest family drama on TV, won't be for much longer. ABC announced Thursday that the show's last episode -- a proper series finale -- will air April 15. The series, which follows the lives of Rick and Lily Sammler, divorced parents who fell in love and got married, has been bumped around the schedule numerous times and was on hiatus much of the winter. Its return earlier this month was the last chance, and the ratings meter didn't jump enough. __ Detroit Free Press (from wire reports) (March 29, 2002)

'Once' Upon a Time

By Brian Hiatt

TUBE TALK Proving again that desperate ''save this show'' e-mail campaigns do absolutely nothing, the cult-favorite ABC domestic drama ''Once and Again'' will go off the air after April 15, according to published reports. The critically beloved show (from ''thirtysomething'' creators Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz) had numerous time slots in its three seasons on the network, but never found a substantial audience; its already unimpressive ratings shrank even further this year, with 2 million fewer people watching, the New York Daily News reported. Nonetheless, ''Once and Again'' is expected to end with a full-fledged finale that will tie up the main characters' storylines. The show's current time slot is Mondays at 10 p.m., but don't be surprised if it changes several more times before the last episode…__ EW.com (March 29, 2002)

NEVER AGAIN: Sadly, this was as inevitable as death and taxes: ABC confirms that it has cancelled the low-rated Once & Again — the final episode is April 15. In a statement, creator Ed Zwick thanked fans for their "outpouring of support," adding: "We're grateful that ABC has given us the chance to create a final episode that does justice to those who have been so loyal to the series." __ TVGuide.com (March 28, 2002)

ABC's Last-Minute Mon. Night Shuffle


ABC's recent attempts to shore up its Monday-night schedule have come up short.

The network has pulled the sitcom "My Wife and Kids" and comedy-variety newcomer "The Wayne Brady Show" from their 8-9 p.m. slot.

("My Wife and Kids" will continue airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)

Tonight, ABC will rebroadcast an hour-long "All-Star Bloopers" with host Dick Clark at 8 p.m. Next Monday, the network has scheduled a repeat edition of "America's Home Videos" for the 8 o'clock hour.

The ratings-challenged drama "Once and Again" will continue being broadcast Mondays at 10 p.m., an ABC spokesman said.

The last-minute shuffle — which was announced on Friday — is the latest twist in ABC's ongoing attempts to create a night of prime-time programming that, at the least, can be competitive with its rivals.

For the season, ABC has failed to win, on average, any night of the week.

Likewise, ABC is the third-rated network this season, averaging 9.93 million viewers each week, compared with NBC's 14.1 million viewers and CBS' 12.3 million, according to Nielsen Media Research.

"I think ABC is struggling," said media analyst Kris Magel, director of national broadcast buying at the ad firm Optimedia International. "I think the only thing that can pull them back into position is to put more new, high-quality shows on the air."

"On any night of the week, ABC is looking for positive momentum," said media analyst Harry Keeshan, an executive vice president at the ad buyer PHD in New York. "I think they're using stopgap measures to tide them over until they can launch new shows in midseason."

ABC's next wave of series begins next week. On March 25, ABC will premiere "The Bachelor," followed by the launch of "The Court," a drama starring Sally Field, on March 26, and "The George Lopez Show" on March 27. __ New York Daily News (March 18, 2002)

Station pulls 'Once and Again' over kiss

Associated Press

SUMMARY: Gay activists are protesting the decision by an ABC affiliate this week not to air an episode of the TV drama "Once and Again" that showed two teen-age girls kissing.

LYNCHBURG, Va. -- Gay activists are protesting the decision by an ABC affiliate this week not to air an episode of the TV drama "Once and Again" that showed two teen-age girls kissing.

"It's clear to us it's simply fear and homophobia in the minds and hearts of the programmers," said Scott Seomin of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which is urging members to contact station WSET to complain.

Station management has declined to say why it pre-empted the show Monday night. In an e-mail to viewers who complained, WSET said there were no plans to air it later.

Randy Smith, president and general manager of the station, did not immediately return a phone call Thursday from the Associated Press.

WSET, in the city that is home to the Rev. Jerry Falwell's conservative ministry, played one hour of music infomercials instead of "Once and Again."

An ABC programming executive, who declined to be identified, said the Virginia station was the only affiliate to pre-empt the show. The station was within its rights to do so, the executive said.

In the episode, a character who is confused about her sexual identity kisses another girl. __ Yahoo! News (March 14, 2002)

'Once and Again' Pulled Over Kiss

The ABC station serving Roanoke-Lynchburg, Va., pulled Monday's episode of "Once and Again," apparently concerned about a story that included a romantic kiss between two teen girls. The station--WSET, which promotes itself as "the heart of Virginia"--broadcast an infomercial in "Once and Again's" place. A station representative confirmed the episode did not run but declined to comment about the reason. The action drew criticism from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which says there was nothing inappropriate about the show and is calling on the station to air the episode within 30 days. Stations periodically decline to run network programs, either to make room for local fare or because they believe the content may offend viewers. Roanoke-Lynchburg is the U.S.' 67th largest TV market and reaches about 420,000 homes, less than 0.5% of the audience. __ LA Times (March 13, 2002)

ABC Shuffles Monday-Night Lineup

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - The critically lauded but oft-juggled drama "Once and Again" will join "My Wife and Kids" as part of ABC's Monday-night lineup beginning March 4.

The two shows, along with "The Wayne Brady Show," which had a decent summer run last year, and new game show "The Chair" will form a completely new lineup for the night. Since "Monday Night Football" concluded its season the first week of January, ABC has been airing movies and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" on Mondays.

The new lineup will remain in place for only seven weeks; movies and specials will then fill ABC's airwaves for the remainder of the season, including the May sweeps period.

A new episode of "My Wife and Kids" will air at 8 p.m. ET March 4, with reruns scheduled for the remaining six weeks. New installments of "The Wayne Brady Show," a variety show starring the "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" performer, will follow at 8:30, and "The Chair" will air at nine.

"Once and Again," which has aired in seven different timeslots in its three seasons, will finish its abbreviated third year -- the network cut back its order from 23 episodes to 19 -- against tough competition at 10 p.m. NBC's "Crossing Jordan" and CBS' "Family Law" average 12.8 million and 11.1 million viewers, respectively, while "Once and Again" attracted only 6.3 million viewers per week in its 9 p.m. Friday spot earlier this season.

"My Wife and Kids" will continue to air in its regular Wednesday slot. "The Chair" is moving to make way for the return of "Dharma & Greg" and "Spin City" on Tuesday, March 5. __ Zap2it.com (February 8, 2002)

Steven Weber to Take Over 'Producers' Role

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - Steven Weber ought to be getting used to following tough acts.

Weber, who's starred in two NBC sitcoms that followed ratings juggernauts on Thursday nights, will take over the role of Leo Bloom in the Broadway smash "The Producers" on Tuesday, March 19, the AP reports. He replaces Matthew Broderick, who with fellow star Nathan Lane will leave the show after the Sunday, March 17 performance.

British actor Henry Goodman will take over Lane's role.

"The Producers," adapted from the 1968 Mel Brooks movie, follows meek accountant Bloom and blustering producer Sam Bialystock as they attempt to fleece investors by producing an intentionally horrible musical called "Springtime for Hitler." The show, of course, becomes a hit, leaving the men in a quandary.

The musical won 12 Tony Awards last year and has played to sold-out audiences from the day it opened.

Weber has a recurring role as Sam Blue on ABC's "Once and Again," currently on hiatus. He starred in the comedies "Wings," which followed "Cheers" on NBC's schedule in the early '90s, and "The Weber Show," which ran in the post-"Friends" slot during the 2000-01 season, and appropriately enough, was at times called "Cursed."

Weber has worked with Brooks before, on the 1995 movie "Dracula: Dead and Loving It." __ Zap2it.com (February 8, 2002)

No 'Again' for 'Once'? ABC yanks series for 7 weeks

By Richard Huff

Less than a week after a major executive shakeup, the new regime is shaking up ABC's prime-time lineup.

Susan Lyne, the newly named president of ABC Entertainment, pulled "Once and Again" from the network's schedule yesterday. The show will be off the air for seven weeks before returning Monday nights in March.

The critically acclaimed series about a pair of fortysomethings in their second marriage began its third season on the air last fall, airing Fridays at 10 p.m. However, people failed to tune in, with the series averaging 6.3 million viewers a week.

"The show simply hasn't worked on Fridays, so we're returning it to the night where it had its greatest success," Lyne said in making the announcement.

ABC's decision last spring to move the show to Friday raised eyebrows within the industry. To do so, the network shifted "20/20" from the Friday 10 p.m. slot to Wednesday, upsetting anchor Barbara Walters. Likewise, some suggested the Friday time period would be problematic for the drama, which tends to appeal to younger women.

"I don't think anybody thought Friday was the best place for it," said Stacey Lynn Koerner, senior vice president and director of broadcast research at ad-buyer Initiative Media.

Koerner compared "Once and Again," which stars Sela Ward and Billy Campbell, to other such equally acclaimed shows as "I'll Fly Away" and "My So-Called Life." Like "Once and Again," those shows had a legion of loyal fans in the media, but didn't generate a large enough audience to make them commercially viable.

"They're shows everyone loves, but for some reason, the audiences aren't flocking to them," Koerner said.

Part of the problem, Koerner explained, is that ABC has few time periods where "Once and Again" could be competitive with other networks, but still be compatible with other ABC shows.

ABC will air blooper specials in the Friday slot instead.

"Once and Again's" future has been debated within ABC and among the many fan groups trying to get network executives to change their minds. The first signal that the outlook was dim came recently, when Lyne ordered just three more episodes of the show rather than nine, which would have made for the usual run of 22 episodes in a season.

Now there will be 17 episodes, which will be enough to carry it through May once it returns to the lineup, according to an ABC spokesman. __ New York Daily News (January 16, 2002)

"Once'' yanked again from ABC

By Josef Adalian

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Once again, ``Once & Again'' is being pulled from ABC's schedule.

Just two weeks after moving to 9 p.m. Friday, the critically acclaimed third-season drama has been put on hiatus, effective immediately. Blooper specials and other programming will fill the slot for now.

ABC isn't giving up on ``Once'' just yet, however. The series will return March 4 to the Monday at 10 slot it occupied for a good chunk of last season.

Most industry insiders had expected ABC to schedule midseason drama ``The Court'' in that time slot come April. It's possible ``The Court'' could still end up there should ``Once'' fail to draw an audience.

``The show simply hasn't worked on Fridays, so we're returning it to the night where it had its greatest success,'' said ABC Entertainment president Susan Lyne.

ABC quietly cut back its ``Once'' episode order for this season from 22 episodes to 17. The show, which bowed in September 1999, stars Sela Ward as a woman trying to make her second marriage work. __ Yahoo.com Variety (January 16, 2002)


By Phil Rosenthal

ABC boss Lloyd Braun told critics that the network and "Once and Again" producers H & Z had agreed to do just 17 episodes of their show this season because that's all the network needed. Critics told H & Z this and they were surprised, to put it mildly, and they were not at all happy. Stay tuned. This could be good. __ Chicago Sun-Times (January 16, 2002)


Effective this week, ABC's critically-acclaimed, one-hour drama series "Once and Again" will go on broadcast hiatus for seven weeks, returning to the ABC schedule on a new night in March, it was announced today by Susan Lyne, president, ABC Entertainment. Beginning March 4, the series will move back to Mondays from 10:00-11:00 p.m. (ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"The show simply hasn't worked on Fridays, so we're returning it to the night where it had its greatest success," stated Ms. Lyne.

When "Once and Again" aired on Monday nights during the 1999-2000 season, the acclaimed drama ranked as the No. 1 program in the hour among Adults 18-34 (4.0), Women 18-34 (5.5) and Women 18-49 (6.8), beating CBS' "Family Law" and NBC's "Third Watch."

"Once and Again" star Sela Ward has received an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and two Golden Globe nominations for Best Lead Actress in a Drama series for her performance as Lily Manning. The series also received Golden Globe nominations in the Best Drama Series, Best Actress and Best Actor categories in 2000.

The series stars Sela Ward as Lily Manning, Billy Campbell as Rick Sammler, Julia Whelan as Grace Manning, Shane West as Eli Sammler, Meredith Deane as Zoe Manning, Evan Rachel Wood as Jessie Sammler, Susanna Thompson as Karen Sammler, Jeffrey Nordling as Jake Manning, Marin Hinkle as Judy Brooks, Ever Carradine as Tiffany and Steven Weber as Samuel Blue.

"Once and Again" is executive-produced and created by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick. The one-hour drama series is from The Bedford Falls Company in association with Touchstone Television. __ ABC Television (January 15, 2002)

Fans Campaign for 'Once and Again'

Die-hard fans have begun a last-ditch Internet campaign on behalf of "Once and Again," the ABC series that continues to struggle in the ratings in its third season. ABC has reduced the number of episodes ordered this season from 23 to 17 and declined to discuss the program's prospects for renewal during a question-and-answer session with reporters Sunday. One fan Web site says the show is "in imminent danger of cancellation." Fans are circulating online petitions and organizing letter-writing to ABC executives; still, such efforts have rarely proven successful, and despite critical acclaim—including an Emmy two years ago for star Sela Ward—"Once and Again" has drawn just 6.4 million viewers on average this season, ranking 91st among prime-time series on the broadcast networks.__ LA Times (January 16, 2002)

Once, and maybe again

By Ellen Gray

Things are looking dicier for the embattled "Once and Again." If ABC entertainment chairman Lloyd Braun remains unwilling to commit publicly to more than 17 episodes this season, executive producer Ed Zwick said plans for the show could change "a lot." He and co-creator Marshall Herskovitz had planned story lines for 22 episodes. __ Philadelphia Daily News (January 15, 2002)

Once and gone

By Charlie McCollum

The fate of ``Once and Again'' -- among the best family dramas on television but a show that has never found an audience -- is at best murky.Talking to reporters here, Lloyd Braun -- chairman of ABC -- said he had talked to the producers about doing only 17 episodes this season, instead of the originally scheduled 23. ``That's the number we're planning to do, that's the number they've been planning to do for weeks now, and that's not really a sign of anything other than the fact that's the number of episodes as a network that we need,'' he said.

There was one problem: The show's creators, Ed Zwick and Marshall Hershkovitz, heard about the possible cutback from reporters at an ABC party on Sunday. That set off a hurried "conversation'' involving the "Once and Again'' producers and Braun.Current party line: "Once and Again'' will shoot at least 17 episodes. It will go off the air in the February ratings sweep and return in March at a different day and time (probably Mondays at 10 p.m.). If things go well, the additional six episodes will be produced, making a full season."We don't know what's going to happen after 17 . . . but they haven't given up on the show,'' Hershkovitz says.And, he says, Braun assured the creators that he wanted them to be able to bring closure to the show. If the series gets cut at 17 episodes, that wouldn't happen, since it would end in the middle of a story line, Hershkovitz says.Just don't hold your breath for another full season. Best bet: "Once and Again'' gets a few more episodes to make an exit as graceful as it deserves. __ San Jose Mercury News (January 14, 2002)

ABC's Hit-Hungry Team

By Josef Adalian

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - ABC Entertainment Television Group chairman Lloyd Braun and newly minted entertainment president Susan Lyne Sunday promised to turn around the troubled network the old-fashioned way -- by developing big hits.

Speaking to journos at the network's portion of the semiannual Television Critics Assn. press tour, the duo offered up several mea culpas while simultaneously pushing the idea that a new chapter was about to begin for the network.

Both agreed that successful scripted series -- rather than stunts or reality shows -- would be key to a comeback. To that end, Braun announced second-season renewals for rookie shows "Alias'' and "According to Jim'' as well as sophomore comedy "My Wife and Kids.''

"We want to lift the network into first place. I don't do that with cheap stunts,'' Lyne said. "That's not the way I think we develop long-term success.''

Lyne, the former head of miniseries and movies, was promoted to her new job last Monday in a shakeup that saw Stu Bloomberg ousted as network co-chairman.

Braun said the network's been hurt by having a schedule made up largely of singles and doubles but no grand slams.

"We don't have the sequoias that other networks have,'' he said. "We think we've got some seedlings ... but we don't have any sequoias right now.''

Lyne said her development would try to "raise the bar'' in terms of quality while also attracting big ratings.

"I like to win,'' she said. "But there are some programs that win awards that end up on PBS, and (they) should. I look for programming that is great but that will also have mass appeal.''

Both Braun and Lyne said ABC will produce more comedy and drama pilots this development season, with Braun noting that the network already had "almost 50% more scripts'' in the works than a year ago this time. ABC's development budget will remain roughly the same; extra pilots will be possible because of the reduced cost of talent this year compared to last.

But ABC's plans to fast-track a dozen comedy scripts in the hopes of testing three or four new laffers this spring have been scrapped. With Lyne in place and Disney management seemingly willing to give the new Braun-Lyne administration some breathing room, such bold moves no longer made sense, insiders said.

"Nobody wants to rush what is potentially great material just to get something on the air,'' Lyne said. ABC has closed a deal with Warner Bros. Television to produce four episodes of the previously announced George Lopez comedy from exec producer Bruce Helford (''The Drew Carey Show''). The other nine episodes from the show's original 13-episode order are still expected to be produced for later broadcast.

Lyne also repeated ABC's commitment to more family-themed shows, saying those programs and "provocative dramas'' have provided "the mix that made ABC No. 1'' in past seasons.

"I'm not looking for single, twentysomething comedies,'' she said. "That would be a hard show to pitch me right now. That's an NBC show.''

Before introducing Lyne, Braun offered up an almost ritualistic act of contrition for ABC's recent ratings performance, admitting the network was "in the midst of a very disappointing season.''

"We've made our share of mistakes, most notably ... our failure to develop new hits behind 'Millionaire' while it was blazing hot,'' he said. "And we have paid the price this season for that.''

Nonetheless, both Braun and ABC Television president Steve Bornstein argued the network's comeback won't be impossible.

"The gap between all four networks has never been smaller,'' Braun said. "So while our rebuilding challenge is significant, we really don't find it daunting or unachievable.''

A significant chunk of Sunday's sessions was devoted to questions from journos seemingly agitated by ABC's decision to pass on one producer's idea for a 25th anniversary salute to the landmark ABC miniseries "Roots.'' NBC picked up the project, which is already drawing lukewarm response from critics here who have screened the hour.

Braun said ABC executives simply didn't like the pitch they heard for the spec and decided to come up with their own salute -- a three-part retrospective set to air later this month on "Good Morning America.''

When reporters continued to press the subject, the newly installed Lyne took one for the team and said if anyone was to blame for ABC not having a more elaborate salute to "Roots,'' it was she. And with ABC fighting its way out of the Nielsen cellar, execs didn't have "the luxury to sit back'' and develop a "Roots'' special, she added.

While Lyne took the hit for the "Roots'' controversy, the rest of her first week in office has gone well, she said.

"I actually don't feel under any huge pressure at the moment,'' she said. "Come May or September, I may feel much more. I actually feel quite loved at the moment.''

In light of Walt Disney Co. president Bob Iger's comments to Daily Variety last week that he planned to be more involved in ABC programming, Lyne said she she's not worried about corporate interference.

"I certainly see Bob as a big asset,'' she said.

Elsewhere during ABC's press tour:

- Braun said he's talking to producer Steven Bochco about a renewal of veteran cop drama "NYPD Blue.'' He hinted at a possible multiyear pact but gave no details.

- ABC said it had reduced "Once and Again's'' 22-episode order to 17 episodes. The fate of the show beyond this season remains iffy.

- Braun said he "miscalculated the effect'' of his November statement that "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'' was not a lock to return next fall.

Nonetheless, "We're just not sure what the most effective way of programming 'Millionaire' for the future is going to be,'' Braun said. "But I expect you're going to see it for a long time.''__ Variety (January 14, 2002)

Billy Campbell and Shane West on The Rosie O'Donnell Show

Billy Campbell is scheduled to appear on Rosie O'Donnell on Monday, January 14, 2002. Shane West is scheduled to appear on Rosie Donnell on Thursday, January 17, 2002 __ rosieo.warnerbros.com (January 9, 2002)

ABC Co-Chairman Bloomberg Resigns

by Rick Porter

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - Stu Bloomberg, co-chairman of struggling ABC, unexpectedly resigned his position Monday (Jan. 7).

Bloomberg, who had been with the network for 22 years and recently signed a new five-year contract, stepped down in the midst of a season in which ABC, the No. 1 network two seasons ago, has slipped to a distant third behind CBS and NBC. The network has fallen to fourth place in the key advertising demographic of adults 18-49.

Lloyd Braun, who served as co-chairman of the ABC Entertainment Television Group, will remain in the job. Susan Lyne, who formerly oversaw movies and miniseries for the network, was promoted to president of ABC Entertainment.

"Susan is an enormous talent, as evidenced by the quality and success of our movies over the last several years," Braun says of Lyne. "Her great taste, commercial instincts and clarity of vision will be of enormous value as we continue to rebuild ABC."

'Rebuild' is the right word: ABC's No. 1 position was built on the runaway early success of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," which aired up to four times a week, each airing in the top 20 of the Nielsen rankings. But as "Millionaire" ratings cooled and the game show was cut back to twice a week, it revealed holes in the schedule that ABC couldn't plug.

Most observers laid the blame at the feet of Bloomberg and Braun for relying too heavily on one show at the expense of developing quality programming for the future. The results appeared to bear out with the start of the current season as the network suffered some surprising setbacks.

The heavily hyped "Bob Patterson," starring "Seinfeld" alumnus Jason Alexander, was cancelled after five episodes. "What About Joan," a midseason replacement last season, lasted only two weeks this time around. The sequel to reality series "The Mole" was pulled after three airings.

Some of the network's veteran series, among them "The Drew Carey Show" and "Spin City," have also fallen in the ratings this season.

ABC's movie and miniseries division under Lyne has been one of the network's consistently strong performers in recent years. Lyne's tenure at the Alphabet has produced the Emmy-winning "Anne Frank" and "Tuesdays with Morrie," as well as "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," "When Billie Beat Bobby" and the remake of "Brian's Song." She previously worked at Walt Disney Pictures and Television and was the founding editor of Premiere magazine.

A statement from ABC gives no reason for Bloomberg's departure; network officials couldn't be reached for comment. The statement does say that Bloomberg "will continue to make meaningful contributions to ABC's creative process."

During his 22 years at ABC, Bloomberg had a hand in developing shows such as "The Wonder Years," "Roseanne," "NYPD Blue" and "Millionaire."

"Stu has made significant contributions, not only to our company, but to the television industry as a whole," says Robert Iger, president and COO of ABC's parent, The Walt Disney Co. "He leaves behind a rich legacy." __ Zap2it.com (January 7, 2002)

Lil' Romeo Joins Other Young'uns On 'Hollywood Squares'

By Corey Moss

Would you trust an 11-year-old rapper when big money is on the line?

A game show contestant faced that predicament recently when rapper Lil' Romeo participated in "Young Stars Week" on "Hollywood Squares." Luckily, the contestant didn't trust him.

"I bluffed," Romeo said in a "Hollywood Squares" press release. "They didn't believe me, but even if they did, it's a game so it's cool."

Lil' Romeo fans can see the young rhyme slinger's bluffing skills when the segments air December 24-28.

Country music star Billy Gilman and opera singer Charlotte Church also took part in "Young Stars Week," along with a herd of young actors, including Alex D. Linz ("Max Keeble's Big Move"), Alexa Vega ("Spy Kids"), Cole and Dylan Sprouse ("Big Daddy"), Evan Rachel Wood ("Once and Again") and Mae Whitman ("One Fine Day").

The show's producer, veteran actress Whoopi Goldberg, remained in her center square spot for the special tapings. [rest snipped] __ Yahoo.com (December 14, 2001)

Carly delivers

by Liz Smith

[snip to O&A mention]
"ONCE AND AGAIN's" hunky Steven Weber has to hop in and out of bed on his weekly show, but he is also exchanging 5 a.m. diaper and bottle shifts with his wife, Juliette Hohnan, for their new baby. He says he's not complaining. "On the show, I just keep having sex with Judy (Marin Hinkle) and regretting it. My wife and I have a running joke that for each episode, I'll be naked and in bed." This isn't a first for the actor. He appeared buck naked onstage in the L.A. production of "Hair." __ N.Y. Newsday (November 19, 2001)

Sela Ward to appear on Disney's American Teacher Awards

Ben Wentworth III, who has taught math and science to students who are vision and hearing impaired was honored as the Outstanding Teacher of the Year on Nov. 10 at the Lifetime Presents Disney's American Teacher Awards, held at the CBS Television City in Los Angeles.

The gala two-hour event, Lifetime Presents Disney's American Teacher Awards, was taped on Saturday, Nov. 10, and will air on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. (ET/PT).

On hand to honor some of America's most dedicated educators were (listed alphabetically) Bonnie Bedelia ("The Division"), Vivica A. Fox ("Soul Food"), Kathie Lee Gifford ("Live with Regis and Kathie Lee"), Whoopi Goldberg ("Hollywood Squares"), Lisa Gay Hamilton ("The Practice"), Anthony Heald ("Boston Public"), Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), Marg Helgenberger ("CSI"), Allison Janney ("The West Wing"), Mimi Kennedy ("Dharma and Greg"), Peter MacNicol ("Ally McBeal"), Chi McBride ("Boston Public"), Marie Osmond ("Donny & Marie"), Jeri Ryan ("Boston Public") and Jimmy Smits ("NYPD Blue"). Cameo appearances will be made by Richard Dreyfus ("The Education of Max Bickford"), Rue McClanahan & Betty White ("The Golden Girls"), Sela Ward ("Once and Again") and last year's Frank G. Wells Award recipient, Oprah Winfrey. __ Business Wire (November 18. 2001)

Company helps stars reclaim their names

Life as a celebrity is tough. On the Internet it's even tougher. If you don't register your own name as a domain name Web site, your fans can create an unauthorized site in your name. Even worse, your name could link to a porn site.

In order to prevent this, a company named CelebSites, headed by movie producer Brad Krevoy, built and maintained Web sites for a slew of actors, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Denzel Washington and Jennifer Aniston. But since the Internet downturn, CelebSites has folding - leading to the possibility of its clients' worst fears being realized.

The company's domain names are in the process of expiring since CelebSites is no longer renewing them, leading to the purchase by porn sites and those with less than altruistic goals in mind. This has happened to one Oscar actress whose whose domain name failed to be renewed, leading it to be bought by someone in Armenia who linked it to a porn site.

Trying to stop the same thing from happening to the other names in CelebSites' roster, the company has enlisted MorePro Marketing Inc. to sell the names to the celebrities they belong to at close to cost.

Among the celebrities whose names are at stake are Sex & the City's Kim Cattrall, Law & Order: SVU's Chris Meloni, *** Once & Again's Billy Campbell,*** Colin Hanks (Roswell), Countess Vaughn (The Parkers), Dennis Haysbert (24), David Sutcliffe (Gilmore Girls), Embeth Davidtz (Citizen Baines), Ivan Sergei, Harry Dean Stanton, Kim Raver (Third Watch), Luke Wilson and many others. __St. Petersburg Times (November 06, 2001)

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