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Hip-Hop Fridays: Future Murky for Fox's "Method"? by Joal Ryan

Method Man and prime time--is one of Hollywood's unhappiest marriages about to end?

That's the buzz on the rapper's fractious Fox sitcom, Method & Red.

The comedy, which premiered June 16, or three days before Method Man mouthed off to the Los Angeles Times that he was already frustrated with the show, is shooting its 13th episode this week before taking a scheduled production break, a Fox spokesman said.

Wednesday's Hollywood trade papers intimate that the hiatus may not be a brief one.

Daily Variety says the break is a "creative retrenchment," with executives needing to feel out stars Method Man and Redman and see if they're interested in returning.

The Hollywood Reporter says producers are cool to making more new episodes until they see how the show does when the second half of its original 13-episode slate airs in the fall.

As far as Fox knows, it has ordered three additional episodes, for a total of 16. The network, though, does not have a start date on when those new shows are to be shot.

Method & Red has been a modest summer performer for Fox, averaging 6.2 million viewers, considerably less than bona fide hit The Simple Life 2 (11.2 million), and considerably more than bona fide bombs North Shore and Casino (4.6 million each).

To date, seven episodes have aired. The show is set to return on Sept. 8, a key part of the Fox's fall Wednesday lineup, teamed with news seasons of That '70s Show and Bernie Mac.

Fox said it has enough episodes of Method & Red to take it up to the baseball playoffs and World Series, which will consume much of the network's schedule in October.

As for whether Method Man and Red will be around to carve turkey at Thanksgiving? A call left with a spokeswoman for Regency Television, which produces the show, was not returned Wednesday.

In its brief history, Method & Red has had a knack for juicy storylines. Most of them off-camera.

In the Times interview, Method Man complained that he wanted "more ghetto stuff [in the TV show], but all [Fox cares] about are people who have Nielsen boxes."

Critics complained the show, in which the titular hip-hopsters move to a posh New Jersey suburb and unsettle their lily-white neighbors, was trading in racial stereotypes.

In July, the founding Wu-Tang Clan member got into a "dispute" (downgraded from a reputed shoving and/or punching match) with a scribe for the series, who subsequently left the show along with his writing partner, Hollywood blog reported.

The reputed problems at Method & Red could be a bad vibe thing. Method Man (birth name: Clifford Smith) and Redman (birth name: Reggie Noble), who costarred in the 2001 big-screen comedy, How High, teamed up on TV without incident on the MTV prank show Stung (2002).

If the sitcom thing doesn't work out for Method, the 33-year-old has other bridges to burn, er, build. He's currently in theaters in the indie romantic comedy Garden State.

He and Red will be in fighting form for the purposes of the videogame Def Jam Fight for NY, due in stores in late September.

Note: This article first appeared at: E! Online

Friday, August 13, 2004

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