NEW YORK – 'Arrested Development" could have a second life on ABC or Showtime.
"Conversations are ongoing with both networks," an industry insider told The Post yesterday.
Both networks are contemplating picking up the quirky, Emmy-winning Fox series, according to trade reports.
ABC "is having preliminary conversations" about acquiring the show, a network spokesman told The Post yesterday.
"Arrested Development" hasn't been officially canceled by Fox, but isn't expected to return after its third-season order was cut from 22 episodes to 13 episodes.
The show is co-produced by Hollywood powerhouse Ron Howard, who provides the voiceover narration, and has been a critical favorite since premiering in 2003. It won an Emmy in 2004.
But it's never caught on with viewers and has averaged roughly 4 million viewers this season. That would be a terrific viewership number for cable's Showtime, but wouldn't cut-the-mustard on ABC.
A sticking point, at least for Showtime, appears to be the cost of the show, particularly the economics of paying its large cast of "name" stars (including Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter), who would demand higher salaries because of their visibility.
But it's believed that Showtime could bookend the show with its critically acclaimed comedy "Weeds," which has been renewed for a second season this week and received several Golden Globe nominations, increasing its cachet.
However, if ABC were to acquire "Arrested," it wouldn't be the first time a current series has switched broadcast networks, often with good results.
Some of the recent examples include "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which jumped from The WB to UPN and, more famously, "JAG," which enjoyed a long run on CBS after moving over from NBC.
Showtime officials had no comment yesterday.