Networks get back to work as strike nears end
By Nellie Andreeva
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A day before Writers Guild of America members vote on whether to end their three-month strike, the broadcast networks on Monday began firming up their production plans.
ABC renewed nine scripted series for next season, while NBC ordered another installment of solid strike performer "The Biggest Loser" for the fall.
ABC's list of pickups for 2008-09 include juggernauts "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Lost" (which is in the first year of a three-season pickup), sophomore series "Brothers & Sisters" and "Ugly Betty," as well as freshmen "Private Practice," "Pushing Daisies," "Samantha Who?" and "Dirty Sexy Money."
The returning series -- which all are expected to also produce four to five fresh episodes to air in the spring -- all have been renewed for a full season.
Meanwhile, the four first-year shows, which all had already been picked up for a full season, have received 13-episode orders. It is expected that, with the exception of "Samantha Who?" they won't air any new episodes this season, with any extra produced segments added to their run in the fall.
ABC is known for renewing its series early in one fell swoop. In March, the network picked up 14 series, including seven scripted, for the 2007-08 season.
Two of the series renewed then, "Boston Legal" and "Men In Trees," are missing from the list this time, raising serious doubts about the their future on the network beyond this season. "Boston Legal" is slated to begin production on the remaining eight episodes of its current order February 20.
CBS' Monday comedy block is slated to return to originals in mid-March, featuring "Two and a Half Men," "The Big Bang Theory" and "How I Met Your Mother," while "Rules of Engagement" and "The New Adventures of Old Christine" are vying for the fourth slot. Continued...