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Kidnapped Goes Gentle Into That Good Saturday Night

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Saturday night, Elton John and Bernie Taupin once told us, is all right for fighting. Unless you’re a TV show; moving to Saturday means it’s time to give up the fight. This is the fate of Kidnapped. Shortly after NBC announced that the much-touted, little-watched new serial would end after a run of 13 episodes, the network today said the show will move to Saturdays at 9 p.m. E.T., starting October 21. (With Fox’s Justice and Happy Hour on mere "hiatus," that means you won your office TV death pool if you picked Kidnapped.)

If there’s a silver lining to this situation, it’s that it may herald an era of kinder, gentler cancellation, at least for certain shows. With the vast number of serial dramas this season (shows that continue their plot from episode to episode, a la Lost and 24), TV executives were worried about viewer backlash if new series were cancelled without a chance to resolve their stories. Why would anyone ever start watching a show, they reasoned, if there was a better-than-even chance of getting engrossed in a mystery that would never be revealed?

With Kidnapped, NBC has decided to placate its remaining fans, and thus protect the chances of future serials, by moving the show where it can do the least damage, to Saturdays, and giving it a baker’s dozen episodes to finish its story. With the exception of Fox, the broadcast networks have basically given up new programming on Saturday. Now the night has a new role: a hospice for terminal serials.

As for Kidnapped star Jeremy Sisto? I’m sure his former Six Feet Under sib Rachel Griffiths can always use a new brother.