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We usually reserve our speculation about Studio 60's chances of being allowed to continue to trumpet the socially redeeming power of unrelentingly serious-minded sketch comedy shows until the disappointing Tuesday morning ratings numbers for NBC's little momentum-stopper come in, but Fox 411 gossip Roger Friedman's report that the network is ready to nail presumed Nielsen Messiah Aaron Sorkin to the crucifix of cancellation forces us to consider the sad possibility that we may have watched our last tortured interaction between Matt Albie and the woman he dumped for singing to Pat Robertson:

Here we go: despite receiving an order for three more episodes on Friday, the Aaron Sorkin NBC drama "Studio 60 on Sunset Strip" is about to be put out of its misery.

Cast members are already confiding in friends that the end is near. It's likely NBC will pull the plug shortly I am told by insiders. [...]

he order of the three extra episodes is considered by insiders to be a contractual move, and not one based on faith that they will ever be made or aired. The all important demo situation didn't help: 'Heroes' had 15 percent of viewers aged 18-49. Studio 60 had 8 percent. The notion that 'Studio 60' is a big draw for NBC among desirables is, sadly, blown on those stats.

These seemingly damning, raw numbers don't reveal just how "affluent and upscale" the show's share of the 18-49 market is; we're sure that the network is selling that eight percent to advertisers as a shadowy, Sorkin-worshipping cabal that controls the wealth of the entire demographic. But according to one of our Southern tipsters, NBC had apparently already sensed that they needed to court a swath of America that their showrunner is willfully ignoring:

Since I am probably the only southern redneck who reads your site, I thought I would share the shameless promotion of Studio 60. [Last] Sunday, Nascar was on NBC. During one of the caution periods, the race commentators started discussing what a great show NBC had in Studio 60. One commentator said it was a great show. Another commentator chimed in that Studio 60 had good acting and good writing. Then the 1st commentator said he was going watch Studio 60, and the other commentator agreed.

The professionalism of NBC's in-race promoters was impressive: neither broke out into laughter while reading the part of the network's script urging their viewers to "tune in to see if the Studio 60 crew is able to punch-up their latest sketch, 'Nascar is Destroying the Intellectual Fiber of America,' before they go live from the Sunset Strip."