ABC fills out hits

'Housewives,' 'Lost' get full-season orders

Making the obvious official, ABC has ordered full seasons of frosh drama hits ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Lost.’

Also Wednesday, NBC ordered a full season of Paramount drama ‘Medical Investigation,’ while the WB decided to pull the plug on never-aired laffer ‘Commando Nanny.’

As for ‘DH’ and ‘Lost,’ both Touchstone Television skeins have been given back-nine orders, bringing to 22 the total number of segs ordered. Skeins both qualify as out-of-the-box hits, making the full-season greenlights a given.

Touchstone’s TV unit is run by Mark Pedowitz.

‘DH’ is the season’s top-rated frosh skein in both total viewers and adults 18-49, while ‘Lost’ has also vaulted into the top 10 and is dominating its Wednesday timeslot.

‘It was not a tough decision,’ said ABC Entertainment prexy Steve McPherson. ‘We would do 177 more episodes this season if we could.’

The success of ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Lost’ have started to turn the tide at ABC faster than anyone had imagined — but McPherson said he’s not celebrating just yet.

‘I’m still cautious and still really realistic about how much work I have to do and the challenges I face,’ he said.

‘Desperate Housewives’ was created by Marc Cherry, who exec produces the skein with Tom Spezialy and Michael Edelstein. It’s averaging 20.8 million viewers and a 9.0/21 among adults 18-49, a whopping 131% increase vs. what ‘Alias’ was averaging with younger viewers in the same timeslot last year.

‘Lost’ was created by Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof; exec producers are Abrams, Lindelof and Bryan Burk. Skein is averaging 17.6 million viewers and a 6.6/18 in adults 18-49, improving its 8 p.m. Wednesday timeslot by 40% in the latter measure.

Other frosh skeins snagging full-season orders include NBC’s ‘Joey’ and the WB’s ‘Jack and Bobby.’

Meanwhile, ‘Medical Investigation’ has been given a full-season order as well. Its numbers aren’t spectacular, but the skein regularly wins its 10 p.m. Friday slot, showing signs of life on what’s become a moribund night for the Big Six.

‘We’ve had great viewer response to this show and week-to-week the audience and the ratings continue to grow,’ said NBC Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly. ‘We couldn’t be more pleased with the show’s performance.’

Over at the WB, it’s over and out for ‘Nanny,’ the laffer from exec producer Mark Burnett.

After a cast change, two showrunner shakeups and a cancer scare for star Gerald McRaney, Frog execs decided to shelve the skein, which was slated to bow last month. Early critical buzz on the show was tepid at best, and WB execs are said to be high on the Fran Drescher laffer ‘Shacking Up,’ lessening the need for ‘Nanny.’

Despite the blow, Burnett – whose experience moving to the U.S. was the basis for the show – said he ‘probably gained more from the failure of not getting it done.’

‘I learned so much with ‘Commando Nanny,’ and it’s going to really serve me well,’ said Burnett, who’s already planning to write a chapter about the experience in his upcoming book ‘Jump In.’ ‘I felt like I got a PhD in sitcoms.’

‘In spite of an extraordinary effort by the producers, cast and crew, we will not be proceeding with production on ‘Commando Nanny,’ ‘ the WB and Warner Bros. TV said in a joint statement Wednesday. ‘The project suffered a number of unfortunate and untimely setbacks, which factored into this very difficult decision.’

Frog’s frosh are having a rough year. Dramas ‘Jack and Bobby’ and ‘The Mountain’ are fading (and will swap timeslots next week), while ‘Blue Collar TV’ has taken a ratings hit with the return of regular competition.

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