Thursday, March 3, 2005

Poor ratings kill
‘North Shore’

The weak Fox series had been
put on hold since mid-December

Fox Television has formally canceled the ratings-challenged hotel drama "North Shore," which has been on hiatus since December.

"It's done, over, gone," said executive producer Harry Bring in Los Angeles. "We were told today to pack it up and close it down."

Several local crew and Jim Sharp, the network's production president, confirmed the series' cancellation. No reason was given, but a Los Angeles source said it was "too-low ratings and too high a budget."

Each "North Shore" episode reportedly cost about $2 million -- more than $40 million for the season. About 65 percent of the budget, $26 million, was spent in Hawaii. The show had more than 70 local crew members.

Bring was saddened by the cancellation and lauded the "great crew" on the set.

"I've never worked on a show where I actually wanted to be with the crew on the weekends -- and in Hawaii I did," he said.

"North Shore" starred Brooke Burns, Shannen Doherty, Kris Polaha, Jason Momoa and James Remar. They all worked at the fictional Grand Waimea hotel, for which the Turtle Bay Resort doubled. The series' hotel lobby set at the Hawaii Film Studio cost about $1 million, the most expensive set ever built there.

The series' cancellation was not unexpected. It never attracted a large audience, suffered from weak story lines, minimal publicity, pre-emptions for the summer Olympics and the start of baseball season, then moved from Monday nights to Thursdays.

In mid-December, Fox shut down the show two episodes short of its planned 22-episode season, and later canceled plans for it to return in January after the holiday hiatus. The new series "Point Pleasant" replaced "North Shore" in the January lineup.

The pilot for "North Shore" completed filming here a year ago. The show began as "Big Island" and "Oahu" before executives started filming the retitled "North Shore's" first 13-episode order in June for Fox's summer schedule, a bold move that many predicted would fail. The series was picked up in August for nine additional episodes but was already drowning in the ratings.

"North Shore" was the first of three network series to begin filming on Oahu, including NBC's "Hawaii," which was also canceled, and ABC's "Lost."

Jean Higgins, unit production manager on ABC's high-rated "Lost" series, said earlier this year the production was interested in using the sound stage at the Hawaii Film Studio, particularly the water tank for underwater sequences.

Fox will hire a company this week to oversee the packing and moving of Fox equipment back to the mainland, as well as whatever demolition is needed, said Bring.

Hawaii film commissioner Donne Dawson said the cancellation is "deeply disappointing."

"'North Shore' has been a great production to work with," she said. "Hawaii has established a really solid relationship with Fox, so we're hoping to see more products coming our way."

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