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ABC delivers 'Pushing Daisies,' 'Dirty Sexy Money' and 'Eli Stone' bad news softly

November 20, 2008 |  5:44 pm

It's a given: breaking up is hard to do, especially when it's not mutual.

But does it have to be this complicated? It's been one wacky afternoon in TV Land. ABC President of Entertainment Steve McPherson has been busy calling the executive producers of "Pushing Daisies," "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Eli Stone" to let them down gently about their shows coming to an end.

Except that McPherson didn't use the crass "You're canceled" terms and instead talked in soft, loving terms about his appreciation for the shows, despite the fact that he was not ordering more episodes. Other ABC officials said the door was left open for a possible reconciliation, but the producers clearly interpreted the conversations differently.

"He was very complimentary and thanked everyone for putting their first foot forward," "Daisies" creator Bryan Fuller said. "He never said we're canceled but that was the gist of it. He said they're proud of the show and not ordering episodes at this time. I could read between the lines and interpret that the door could be open in the future but I think that the gist of that is that we weren't going to be moving forward on ABC."

Greg Berlanti, who produces "Eli Stone" and "Dirty Sexy Money," who was not at the meeting, must have read his conversation with McPherson the same way because two other producers gathered the cast and crew to let them know they will need to find other jobs.  It was not clear if Berlanti, who could not be reached for comment immediately, had also informed the cast and crew of "Dirty Sexy Money."

ABC plans to run the 13 produced episodes of each series.

"No absolute finality was given but stranger things have happened because you see what happened with 'Jericho,'" Fuller said. (The CBS show was canceled after its first season and then renewed when fans bombarded CBS with peanuts as a sign of support. It was canceled again after its second season.)

Fuller acknowledge that everyone who worked on the show will begin looking for new jobs, which would make it hard for the "door to stay open." He already has his next gig lined up: returning to "Heroes," where he worked as a writer in the NBC show's first season. He also has begun thinking about turning his sweet fairy tale into a movie.

"It's hard not to be disappointed but I'm walking away with a stronger feeling of pride and gratitude," Fuller said.

--Maria Elena Fernandez

THIS JUST IN: An employee of "Dirty Sexy Money" has confirmed the show also will shut down after production is complete on its 13 episodes.

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