The show is a spin-off of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer.’

LOS ANGELES – Early Friday an announcement was made to the cast and crew at The WB’s “Angel” that this season, the show’s fifth, will be its last.

“It’s official enough to know it’s real,” David Greenwalt, who co-created the series with Joss Whedon, tells Zap2it.com, “but I haven’t talked to anybody at the network or the studio. I can tell you that it’s real, that it makes Mr. Whedon and myself very sad, that we wish it had kept going and we thought it was only getting better.

“Joss and (executive producer) Jeff Bell told the cast and crew today. We have no understanding of the inner workings of the corporate world, but we’ve had a long and fruitful relationship with (producing studio) 20th Century Fox and The WB, for which we are grateful. We just wish it could have gone on forever. Apparently, it’s not going to.

“Joss literally called me this morning; so it’s very new.”

This news comes on the heels of airing the 100th episode of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” spin-off, the taping of which was marked by a party on the show’s sets last November.

At that time, the WB’s entertainment chief, Jordan Levin, said, “The work that you all do, I cannot thank you enough. This is something that will last. You can see it in the DVD sales. You see it in the fans.”

They give an incredible amount of attention to almost everything.

“You’ve created a cult here, and it’s pretty wonderful to be a part of it. So thank you and congratulations.”

It’s the network’s regard for the show that prompted it to give the producers an early enough heads up for a proper send-off at the end of the season.

“Like some of the great series that are leaving the air this year, including “Frasier’ and “Friends,’ the cast, crew, writers and producers of “Angel’ deserve to be able to wrap up the series in a way befitting a classic television series, and that is why we went to Joss to let him know that this would be the last year of the series on The WB,” the network says in a statement. “We have discussed continuing the Angel legacy with special movie events next year, which is still on the table. “

This week, on Wednesday, “Angel” airs one of its most innovative episodes, called “Smile Time.” Written and directed by Ben Edlund (“The Tick”), and based on an idea by Whedon, it sees the show’s title character, a crusading vampire with a soul, forced to fight evil after being transformed into a walking puppet (with voice by series star David Boreanaz).

“It’s so brilliant,” Greenwalt says. “I just love it. It’s one of the finest pieces of filmmaking I’ve ever seen. It just cracked me up. It’s so ridiculous and silly, and yet there’s all this heartfelt stuff in it. It’s just quintessential Whedon.

“But wait until you see the episode that follows it in terms of abject heartbreak. It’s just searing.”

Greenwalt stepped away from “Angel” a few years ago but has remained a consulting producer. Since then, he’s worked on two short-lived but critically acclaimed series, ABC’s “Miracles” and UPN’s “Jake 2.0.” But he’s contemplating a possible return to his old stomping ground.

“I might just go direct episode 20 (of “Angel’),” he says, “so I can say my farewell to everybody. That’s something that might happen.”

As to the future of the show’s star, The WB says, “David Boreanaz continues to be one of the finest, classiest and friendliest actors we have had the pleasure to work with and we hope that the relationship furthers from here.

“The same can be said for all the actors and producers on



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David Boreanaz

AP-NY-02-16-04 0908EST



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