Emmy-winning ‘Malcolm’ extended

Fox goes for five on tentpole series

Fox has picked up a fifth season of “Malcolm in the Middle,” keeping the dysfunctional family in primetime through the 2003-2004 TV season.

Pick-up of the Regency TV comedy was a no-brainer for Fox, which consistently dominates “Malcolm’s” timeslot among adults 18-49. The network moved “Malcolm” to the tentpole Sunday at 9 p.m. time period this season after years in the post-“The Simpsons” slot.

“Malcolm,” created and exec produced by Linwood Boomer, has picked up five Emmys since its January 2000 bow, including two apiece for writing and directing. Cloris Leachman also received one for her recurring role as Malcolm’s grandmother.

“Malcolm” stars Jane Kaczmarek and Bryan Cranston as Lois and Hal, parents of four squabbling brothers, including honor student Malcolm (Frankie Muniz). Much of this season’s episodes have revolved around Lois’ pregnancy; Kaczmarek’s character will give birth at the end of the season.

“‘Malcolm in the Middle’ is the benchmark by which all family comedies are judged,” said Fox Entertainment prexy Gail Berman, who made the announcement Wednesday. “The series continues to grow creatively.”

The show will premiere in off-net syndication this fall, having been sold in the top markets to Fox-owned stations.

“Malcolm” also stars Christopher Kennedy Masterson (Francis), Justin Berfield (Reese) and Erik Per Sullivan (Dewey). Todd Holland serves as co-exec producer/director.

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