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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Yet another reality show gets put out of its misery

Associated Press

NEW YORK — ABC has pulled the plug on "The Runner," an eagerly anticipated reality TV show that was being produced by actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

The network said it was worried about how a series in which people try to hunt down a citizen, the runner, as he travels across the country would be received after the Sept. 11 attacks.

ABC reportedly had concerns that increased airport security could slow the chase. The network also may be responding to viewers' relative lack of interest in the reality genre since Sept. 11.

"It is our view that today's environment would not be conducive to this type of television event," said Lloyd Braun, co-chairman of ABC Entertainment.

ABC had high hopes for the series, which would have appeared midseason. Not only were Damon and Affleck involved, but so was Michael Davies, the executive behind "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

Since Sept. 11, the public has largely rejected fake TV reality, being more interested in the more unsettling reality in the news. ABC last week canceled the second run of "The Mole" before the game had finished. CBS' highly anticipated series "The Amazing Race" has fallen flat.

Shelving "The Runner" also adds to the bad news for ABC, a distant third in the ratings.