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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006, 14:47 GMT
Malcolm sitcom axed over ratings
Family sitcom Malcolm in the Middle has been pulled from the schedules of US TV network Fox after falling ratings.

The Emmy award-winning show, which airs in the UK on BBC Two, will broadcast its final episode on 14 May after seven seasons on Fox.

The network announced last year it planned to drop cult comedy Arrested Development after a fall in viewers.

But producers 20th Century Fox TV said two other networks had put in bids to carry that series next year.

'Loyal audience'

"We are currently considering the offers on the table," said spokesman Chris Alexander.

The remaining episodes of Malcolm in the Middle will be shown on Sundays from 29 January at 7pm - a slot generally occupied by cartoon reruns.

Fox president Peter Liguori told reporters and critics at a gathering of North American TV critics in California that Malcolm in the Middle was leaving the network as an "ageing" sitcom.

Also getting the axe at Fox is comedy That 70s Show, now in its eighth series.

Fox is in conversations with former That '70s Show stars Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace to return for the show's finale on 18 May.

''We don't want to see these shows kind of crawl to their ending,'' Liguori said.

''We'd much prefer to have them go out with a loyal audience and with some strengths, so that the shows have a fertile afterlife."

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