Postponed `Buffy' has new air date

June 21, 1999|By NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

The controversial season finale of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" -- yanked from the schedule in May in the wake of the Colorado shooting tragedy -- has been given a July 13 airdate by the WB network.

The episode was to have ended the hit series' season on May 25, but network executives were concerned that its wild and somewhat violent ending would have seemed insensitive coming just days after the high-school killings.

In the episode, the conclusion of a two-part installment, the kids of the fictional Sunnydale kill the town's evil mayor, who by the end of the show had morphed into a 60-foot creature.

WB executives first asked the producers to edit the show's ending, but even after modifications they thought it was too strong to show just weeks after the high school massacre, which left 15 dead. The thinking then was that if something went wrong at any of the thousands of coming graduation ceremonies around the country, "Buffy" would become a lightning rod for media scrutiny.

With virtually all of those ceremonies now history, the folks at the WB think the time is now right to run the show, spokesman Brad Turell said.

"It's a little bit farther away from the terrible incidents that happened during the school year," Turell said.

Waiting did cost the network, however.

Instead of airing the highly anticipated finale, the network aired a different episode, which didn't fare as well in the ratings.

Still, WB entertainment president Suzanne Daniels told a recent industry gathering that the network still believes it made the right decision in waiting.

"Did it hurt us?" Daniels said. "Yeah, we took a little bit of a hit in the Nielsens -- but overall, we feel good about that decision."

The "Buffy" finale was among a handful of episodes that the networks pulled in the weeks after the Colorado shootings.

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