'Arrested Development' DeathWatch: 'AD' Finally Canceled?

The signs of Arrested Development's long-awaited demise have been there for anyone willing to put aside their thoughts of a blue-paint-slathered David Cross rocking some Daisy Dukes and think about it: Gail Berman's departure from Fox, the rumors of Jason Bateman putting himself on the casting meat market, and last week's announcement that much of the AD gang is getting together for a movie. But now we've heard whispers that new Fox boss Peter Liguori is hot to finally and quietly bury the show in his backyard like a pet hamster that just "went to sleep" while the kids were at school, and the cancellation—excuse us, non-renewal—might not be public until the upfronts next month.

If this were a traditional sitcom, (and if we were in the mood for a clumsy, extended metaphor—which we always are) Fox would try and replace the canceled AD with a pretty-close replica from the pet store, which the kids would immediately realize has a strange white patch on its tummy and no longer seems to answer to its old name. Then, tearily, Fox would admit that the show has been sick for a long time, and is already rotting in an old shoebox by the tomatoes in the garden, just where God wants it because it never did pull its weight in the key demographic.