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Waiting on ''Everwood''

By RD Heldenfels Published: February 21, 2006

Monday night the bride and I went out to Wadsworth for a dinner with the cancer support group there. Both my wife and I lost spouses to cancer, and we were glad to be part of a good cause. But we were mainly there to see ''Everwood'' star Tom Amandes and his wife, Nancy Everhard.

Nancy's mother, Martha, is a cancer survivor and founder of the group. Tom's mother is now fighting cancer, although he said the recent news is good. Tom and Nancy spoke about the way cancer touches everyone; Tom talked about how eerie it was to be playing a character whose wife was fighting cancer while dealing with his mother's illness, especially when he found himself waiting for his TV wife's test results on the same day that he was waiting for news about his mother. Tom and Nancy also described their participation in fund-raising bicycle trips for Lance Armstrong's foundation. It was a touching evening in many ways.

But it was also a time to ask Tom about ''Everwood.'' The show has been off The WB's schedule for some time but is due back on March 27, a Monday, the night where the show had its greatest success. Still, it comes back with considerable uncertainty. The WB and UPN are merging in the fall into a single network, The CW, and there has been considerable speculation about which shows from the two existing networks will make it onto the one new one.

In a conversation after the dinner, Tom admitted that things had been tough for ''Everwood'' even before the merger announcement, that a top WB executive was not a fan of the show, and that ''Everwood'' was not served well by the network's moving it from Monday to Thursday. The show has a lot of dramatic developments coming up for the rest of this season, but the writers are working on a couple of versions of the season finale; they expect to know the show's fate before shooting the last episode and so are preparing a version if there will be another season, and a version if this is the end.

Talking to Tom also served as a reminder of the way a show's demise can affect the people on it. Tom and Nancy moved to Utah, where the show is shot. Their son Ben has been growing up there. Because they have to make a decision about Ben's school before they know what's going to happen to ''Everwood,'' Tom said they're probably going to stay in Utah for at least another year, so as not to disrupt his education, no matter what happens with the show. In their talk to the group, Tom also noted that the show's cast has become very close because of the Utah location, binding them together in the way they might not have been in Hollywood, where the show-biz distractions are greater. And it was a former neighbor in Utah that led to their involvement with Armstrong's foundation.

If this is the end for ''Everwood,'' many fans will lose one of their favorite shows. I regularly hear from readers during ''Everwood's'' long hiatuses, wanting to know when it will be back. After the dinner, fans in the audience asked to have pictures taken with Tom; others, including a couple of servers at the dinner, asked for autographs. Tom and Nancy are also good people.

I am not a constant viewer of the show (although my wife is), but I have seen it do serious, thoughtful work that should have a place somewhere on the TV schedule.

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