CBS firms 11th year of ‘Murder’

While CBS looks to strengthen other nights, one potential problem again has been forestalled, with Angela Lansbury agreeing to an 11th year of “Murder, She Wrote,” the durable centerpiece of the network’s Sunday lineup.

Lansbury will again both star in and exec produce the Universal TV series, for which she’s received nine Emmy nominations and four Golden Globe awards.

Every season, CBS goes through the question of whether Lansbury will return, and the actress has a standing commitment to do a sitcom for the network whenever she chooses to hang up the Jessica Fletcher role.

Sources estimate the actress to be among the highest-paid performers on TV, commanding in the neighborhood of $ 250,000 per episode. Lansbury’s reps at the William Morris Agency, Jerry Katzman and Hal Ross, declined comment on those terms.

The show is averaging a 17.0 rating/25 share in Nielsen for the current season, having held on to its older-skewing audience to remain the household champ in its timeslot despite a significant challenge this fall from two heavily promoted hours, “seaQuest DSV” and “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”

Created by Peter S. Fischer and the team of Richard Levinson & William Link, “Murder” is now produced by Lansbury’s Corymore Prods. in association with Universal.

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