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Fox renews Spelling pair through ’94-95

Fox Broadcasting Co. has renewed Spelling TV’s duo of “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Melrose Place” through the 1994-95 season — representing the fifth and third years, respectively, of the two serials.

The shows have combined to make Wednesday Fox’s highest-rated night this season, with “90210” averaging an 11 rating, 17 share in Nielsen and “Melrose” a 9.7/15.

Both shows perform disproportionately well in key demographics, particularly among the teen and 18-34 brackets.

Although Fox said both will receive full-season orders, it’s unclear how many episodes that will actually entail. The weblet ordered 32 installments of each drama this season — 10 more than the average returning series — and the number for next year will be contingent in part on how many the producers can supply.

Fox upped the order on the two series because primetime soaps don’t repeat as well as other genres. The additional episodes allow Fox to air the series without repeats and minimal preemptions (including this week’s Billboard Music Awards) from September through May.

In addition, Fox Entertainment Group prez Sandy Grushow said earlier this year that Fox is mulling a spinoff of “Melrose Place” (itself spun off from ” 90210″) that could premiere next summer. Fox followed a similar pattern with “Melrose,” which was introduced with a run behind its sister Spelling hour in July 1992 to capitalize on weaker competition from network repeats.

The increased episodes help speed Spelling’s path to syndication and facilitate talent negotiations. Fox ordered 60 episodes of “90210” over the ’91 and ’92 seasons, and the series is one of the most popular U.S. shows in such overseas territories as France, Italy and Australia.

Both shows were created by Darren Star and are produced by Spelling TV, the latter in association with Darren Star Prods.

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