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US drops Cleese sitcom

A sitcom starring former Monty Python star John Cleese has been dropped from US television after just two episodes.

Bosses at ABC television made the decision because the show, Wednesday 9.30, failed to pull in high ratings.

Many good shows need time to find an audience

John Cleese
Cleese, 61, who played an Australian TV executive who axed shows because of low ratings, was quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying US TV executives were "scared" by the war for ratings and had "no idea".

But the comedian told BBC News Online that he was not angry at the show's demise, but that he had "laughed" when he heard the news.

He said: "It's very funny that a sitcom about the insanity of American television executives should be cancelled immediately after the second episode was transmitted - it's just plain silly.

"Many good shows need time to find an audience. (Sitcom) Cheers is famous for its poor viewing figures at the start, but (NBC president) Brandon Tartikoff kept it on because he trusted it - and we all know what happened.

"The second episode of Fawlty Towers got several negative reviews but the old BBC just ignored them - I doubt Monty Python would have survived these days."

Cleese added that his role in Wednesday 9.30 was very small but admitted he felt "disappointed" for the younger actors and writers as the show could have made a "big difference" to their careers.

It is not the first time he has appeared on the small screen in a sitcom, having appeared in hit two hit US comedies - Third Rock from the Sun and Cheers.


Cleese starred in the hit comedy Fawlty Towers
While his TV career may have stalled for the moment, Cleese is going from strength to strength on the big screen.

He will reprise his role of Sir Nicholas "Nearly Headless Nick" de Mimsy-Porpington in the Harry Potter sequel The Chamber of Secrets.

The film is due for release in November and shortly after he will be seen in the new James Bond movie, Die Another Day, playing the role of Q.

And he recently starred in fast-paced comedy caper Rat Race, which took ? in the week it was released, coming third in the UK box office chart.

Oscar

The movie starred Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Cuba Gooding Jr and Seth Green in a tale of gambling gone crazy as teams race to find $2m hidden by a casino magnate.

Cleese is perhaps best-known as part of the Monty Python troupe and for his Basil Fawlty character in Fawlty Towers, which he co-wrote.

He starred in and co-wrote A Fish Called Wanda, for which he won an Oscar nomination.

His other film credits include Fierce Creatures and Clockwise.

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