After weeks of industry-wide speculation, NBC has finally put the matter to bed and ordered the back nine episodes of struggling freshman drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which had been dogged by (credible) rumors of cancellations.
But you can bet your bottom dollar that NBC didn't walk away from the bargaining table without an economic upside. Sources are reporting that NBC and studio Warner Bros. TV only came to a deal for Studio 60's full season order thanks to a lower license fee for the additional nine installments, at a price much lower than the $2.5-3 million they paid per episode of the original order. And NBC is mulling possibly moving the struggling series out of its Mondays at 10 pm timeslot as it explores other options.
The Peacock, which also ordered three additional scripts for struggling frosh series 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights, is expected to release its midseason lineup in the next few days.
Meanwhile, over at ABC, some good news for fans of sophomore drama What About Brian, which also received a full season pickup, bumping its episode count to 22 this season.
Not such good news at FOX, however, which has been struggling this season with an extremely uneven lineup. The network quickly pushed The Rich List onto the air, only to pull it after one episode and then tested The O.C. in a Wednesday night timeslot to extremely lukewarm results. Now FOX has benched two of its downwardly-mobile performers. Both Justice and Happy Hour have been pulled, effective immediately. Happy Hour, which had been seen to be on a, er, "permanent hiatus," will not be returning to FOX's schedule in any way, shape, or form. (Hardly surprising, seeing as most people weren't aware it was on the schedule in the first place.) As for drama Justice, FOX is being a little more coy, saying that the legal drama COULD pop up again on the schedule in January, typically a time of lineup shakeup for the net, thanks to the return of hits 24 and American Idol.
While I would have rather heard about a back nine pickup, drama Veronica Mars received some good news the other day as netlet CW ordered three additional scripts of the noir-tinged series. While it's a sign that the CW is open to continuing the series past the 13-episode mark (the third season of Veronica has only been picked up for 13 episodes so far), additional script orders do not always mean that episode orders will follow... nor does it mean that a particular series will make it to the full-season mark. Still, I can't imagine what else the CW has to air (other than midseason drama Hidden Palms and reality series Beauty and the Geek), considering that its ONLY new drama, Runaway, lasted less than a handful of episodes.
Fingers crossed that Veronica gets some much needed love and some additional episodes ordered soon; I'm still praying Dawn Ostroff comes to her senses and picks up the back nine ASAP. Fellow drama One Tree Hill also received an order of three additional scripts. The fate of that series, also in its third season, also remains up in the air... but I've heard rumblings that its timeslot is being targeted for the launch of newbie drama Hidden Palms, given the strength of timeslot lead-in America's Next Top Model.
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