Producers promise ‘big’ series finale for ‘Alias’

In what can only bee seen as a mercy killing by all but the show’s most rabid fans, ABC gave early notice it was pulling the plug on low-rated cult spy fi series, Alias. The last original episode will air in April or May of 2006.

The show, coming of record series high ratings as the show the immediately followed Lost last year on Wednesday nights, was moved this year to the 8/7c timeslot on Thursdays and never found its footing on a new night and new time.

ABC hasn’t had a hit TV series at 8 p.m. on Thursdays since Mork & Mindy in the early 1980s. Many of the Alias’ fans found this move to be the kiss of death by ABC.

Sure enough, in the prized 18-49 age demographic, Alias has occasionally ranked dead last in the ratings, being beaten by Survivor on CBS, Joey and Will & Grace on NBC, baseball on Fox, Smallville on the WB (which also moved to Thursdays, but successfully) and Everybody Hates Chris on UPN.

Instead of yanking the show off the air altogether, ABC acknowledges Alias’ strong DVD sales and syndication potential in letting the show run its course. The network says its move is not a cancellation, but an early notice the program will not be renewed for 2006-2007.

Alias’ producers have promised a big series finale for the fans who have stuck with the show for the past five seasons.