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TV Bulletin Board (Oct. 9) -- Southland sacked before second season can start

Southland star Ben McKenzie can keep his pistol holstered.

NBC has stopped Southland in its tracks, axing the critically acclaimed cop drama before its second season could get underway.

Scheduled to premiere on Friday, Oct. 23rd after debuting last spring, Southland instead will be supplanted by Dateline, which already is airing in what was supposed to be the drama's 8 p.m. (central) slot.

The move further separates last-place NBC from the scripted programming that used to be its bread and butter. Of 22 available prime-time hours per week, a total of 13 are reserved for unscripted fare, ranging from Sunday's NFL football games and trimmings to The Jay Leno Show each weeknight at 9 p.m. (central).

***ABC has renewed three of its four new Wednesday night comedies for full seasons. Getting the pickups are Modern Family, Cougar Town and The Middle. That leaves Kelsey Grammer's Hank in the lurch as the night's lead-off hitter. It hasn't been canceled, but it's definitely not feeling the love.