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Fox pulls 'Our Little Genius' before it premieres [Updated]

January 7, 2010 |  3:30 pm

We don't know what went wrong exactly, but the little geniuses won't be coming to Fox after all.

In a strange turn of events, Fox announced today that "Our Little Genius" won't premiere on Jan. 13 because executive producer Mark Burnett ("Survivor" and "Celebrity Apprentice") doesn't want the episodes to air.

“I recently discovered that there was an issue with how some information was relayed to contestants during the pre-production of ‘Our Little Genius,' Burnett said in a statement released by Fox. "As a result, I am not comfortable delivering the episodes without reshooting them. I believe my series must always be beyond reproach, so I have requested that Fox not air these episodes.”

A Fox spokesman would not elaborate as to what went wrong. The show, which gives preteen prodigies a change to test their knowledge for a lot of money, has been under fire by some critics for its potential for harming children emotionally or psychologically. A New York Times story on Wednesday described producers shooting alternate endings with families because children were taking their losses really hard.

The Fox spokesman said the status of the show is unknown. The network may reshoot the episodes, but it may not. [Updated 4:04 p.m.: Mark Burnett Productions will reshoot the episodes, but Fox has not decided if it will air the series.]

Fox also released a statement: “Mark Burnett is one of the preeminent producers of unscripted programming on television. Even though we were incredibly pleased with the quality of ‘Our Little Genius,’ we respect and appreciate his due diligence and the decision to pull these episodes. We agree there can be no question about the integrity of our shows. While these episodes will not air, the families who participated in the show will receive their winnings, and we are grateful for their participation.”

Burnett could not immediately be reached for an interview. [Updated: 4:04 p.m.: Sources say Burnett's concerns have to do with contestants being given more information than they should have and are not related to the concerns expressed by outsiders in the New York Times.]

-- Maria Elena Fernandez (follow me on Twitter @writerchica)

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