Has “Ben and Kate” been canceled?

The answer to that awful question is maybe. FOX has pulled the critically-lauded-but-ratings-challenged show from its Tuesday schedule. It’s not quite cancellation, but this might be the first step in that direction.

Instead of “Ben and Kate,” the network will air one-hour, double episodes of “Raising Hope” between 8 and 9 P.M. on Tuesday, Jan. 29 and Tuesday, Feb. 5. Repeats of the FOX comedies will air on Feb. 12, so as not to conflict with the Presidential State of the Union address. “Raising Hope” will air a half-hour episode (8-8:30 P.M.) on Tuesday, Feb. 19, but will return to the one-hour format for Feb. 26.

After February ends, the Tuesday night schedule gets really confusing. “American Idol” will air a live show on Tuesday, March 5, and then “Hell’s Kitchen” will premiere in the 8-9 P.M. time-slot on March 12.

There will be one more “Raising Hope” after this — the season 3 finale will air in a one-hour block following “American Idol” on Thursday, March 28 at 9pm.

With all of these confusing schedule changes, “Ben and Kate” appears nowhere. The network insists that the comedy will return at some later date, but no scheduling information is available at this time. Even if the remaining season 1 episodes of “Ben and Kate” do air, pulling the show from the schedule at this point is a bad sign.

“Ben and Kate” might indeed be canceled.

Posted by:Laurel Brown