Bumped! Where's Playing it Straight?

Just when things were heating up for a local musician and actor named Sharif on Fox's reality show Playing it Straight, the network pulled the show. But Sharif tells his fans not to fret.

"Fox loves the show," writes Sharif on his website shariffans.com, "and thinks it's one of the most creative shows they've had in a long time."

Airing the show at 8pm Friday night, however, proved unwise.

"It was up against all the basketball games," writes Sharif.

Official Fox Broadcasting Co. spokesperson Scott Grogin did not return the Hook's calls by deadline, but an inside source at Fox confirms Sharif's optimistic claims.

"The ratings were not doing well," the source claims.

For those who missed the first three segments, here's the scoop:

The show, scheduled to run for eight consecutive weeks, places an attractive single woman, 21-year-old Jackie, on a Nevada ranch along with 14 hunks from whom she must pick her favorite. The catch? Some of the men are gay, though all are acting straight. If Jackie's gaydar is finely tuned and she picks a straight guy, the pair split a million bucks. If a gay guy tricks her into choosing him, he walks away with all the money and leaves Jackie empty-handed.

In the first two episodes, Sharif seems like the underdog, competing against loud, self-confident he-men. At the end of each episode, the men perch nervously on hay bales in a hokey barn as one by one, Jackie calls them up to announce whether they will stay or go. Sharif survives the first two eliminations, but remains a background player while infighting and backstabbing among the other suitors intensifies.

But Sharif makes his move in episode three, serenading Jackie during an overnight camp-out, and then getting to sleep on the floor beside her bed to protect her from an insect.

This doesn't go over well with the bucks back at the campsite.

"I'd like to cut his fingers off," snarls a hugely annoyed Chris in response to Sharif's rising stock.

Will we ever know if Sharif is the winner? When will we find out whether he's straight or gay?

"It's coming back sometime this summer," says the Fox source, "and I'm assuming it will be shown in its entirety."

No re-launch date has been scheduled, but Sharif himself believes this is the best thing that could have happened.

"The fact that they want to re-launch the show and spend millions more promoting it shows that they have total faith in it. In the meantime, I'll be touring with my new album and waiting for summer to roll around," he says.

Does that sound like the voice of a winner?

We'll just have to wait and see.

Sharif says he'll be back.