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NBC cancels 'Friends' spin-off Joey

LONDON - US network NBC has cancelled the 'Friends' spin-off series 'Joey' after it suffered a ratings slump.

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The series was put on hold in March after viewing figures for the series, following the life of wannabe actor Joey Tribbiani, fell to 4m compared with the 18.6m that tuned in to watch the first episode.

NBC has chosen to bank on hit shows such as 'ER', 'My Name is Earl' and 'Law & Order' to bolster the summer season. 

'Joey' was launched with a huge fanfare in the US and the UK and attracted 4.1m viewers in the UK for its pilot show on terrestrial broadcaster Five, which had bought the programme for more than £500,000 an episode and attracted original sponsor Ginsters to the spin-off.

UK media agencies expressed concern that the series would not rise to the potential fulfilled by 'Friends'. When the third episode was transmitted by Five the audience had dropped to half its original figure with only a 2.1m audience, taking a mere 8.5% of audience share.

'Friends' was watched by an estimated 35m in the US when it took its final curtain call in 2002, while 'Cheers' spin-off 'Frasier' was broadcast for 11 series.

The cast of 'Friends' have reportedly expressed interest in reuniting for a film of the television series.

NBC and other US television networks have been busy promoting their new schedules to advertisers this week. 

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