Alphabet extends lifeline to trio of new skeins

ABC has delivered some positive news to a trio of its frosh shows, ordering extra scripts of laffer “Help Me Help You” and dramas “Men in Trees” and “The Nine.”

Also getting a temporary lifeline: Aaron Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” which has snagged a three-script extension from NBC. Deadline is nearing for Peacock brass to decide whether to greenlight additional episodes of the skein.

Save for Ted Danson starrer “Help Me Help You,” which is produced by Regency Television, all the extra script orders confirmed Thursday were for Warner Bros. TV projects.

WBTV has also snagged an order for an extra episode of its longrunning NBC hit “ER.” Skein, from John Wells Prods., will produce 25 segs this season.

Meanwhile, ABC also confirmed Thursday that the WBTV-produced “Traveler,” which had been given a 13-episode midseason order, will instead produce eight episodes (including the pilot) for its first cycle.

Alphabet decided it only had room on its spring schedule for an eight-episode arc of the skein, and asked WBTV to produce five fewer segs. Because of the serialized nature of the skein, ABC wanted to give producers a chance to wrap up storylines for the first season, rather than leaving viewers hanging in the event the show doesn’t make it to a second season.

Two past ABC success stories — “George Lopez” and “Grey’s Anatomy” — became hits after abbreviated spring runs. And another ABC midseason skein, “Day Break,” had its first season capped at 13 episodes in order to ensure a resolution to the season one story arc.

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