Good news for Jerry Seinfeld and Lisa Kudrow: NBC picks up all three midseason reality shows

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NBC has performed a reality hat trick, picking up second cycles of its three new alternative series.

“The Marriage Ref,” “Minute to Win It” and “Who Do You Think You Are?” will all return some time during the 2010-2011 TV season, the Peacock announced on Monday.

None of the series are major ratings hits, but all remain useful utility players for NBC, particularly in midseason. 

NBC ordered 13 more episodes of “The Marriage Ref” — three of which will air this year, with the other 10 saved for next season. Network also has ten more segs of “Minute to Win It” in the works, while “Who Do You Think You Are?” now has another eight in the works.

Season to date, “Marriage Ref,” which runs Thursday at 10 p.m. (and got a strong marketing push off the Winter Olympics), has averaged a 3.0 rating and 8 share among adults 18-49, and averages 7.2 million viewers.

Exec produced by Jerry Seinfeld, “Marriage Ref” follows a panel of celebs and host Tom Papa as they offer up their takes on various marital spats. 

“The core premise works,” said NBC/Universal Media Studios alternative programming exec VP Paul Telegdy. “Marriage is a topic that somewhere in there is hitting a nerve.”

Seinfeld, Ellen Rakieten, Nick Emmerson, Jennifer O’Connell, Al Berman, Howard West and Jessica Seinfeld are exec producers.

“Minute to Win It,” meanwhile, was originally targeted for summer, but moved up to midseason after NBC pulled Jay Leno from primetime. Show has averaged a 2.0/6 with adults 18-49 and 6 million viewers on Sundays at 8 p.m. against tough, established reality players: CBS’ “The Amazing Race” and ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

Peacock also tested a repeat “Minute” last Wednesday, and wound up No. 2 in the hour. 

“Given that it’s a format that we own and distribute around the world, that’s a good piece of business for us,” Telegdy said.

NBC Universal has already sold “Minute” format rights to Australia, Germany and Sweden, among major territories.

Guy Fieri hosts the show, which comes from Universal Media Studios and Friday TV; Craig Plestis, Tim Puntillo, Mattias Olsson and Jock Millgardh are exec producers.

“Minute” will likely wait for midseason next year, as NBC airs “Sunday Night Football” in the fall.

Then there’s “Who Do You Think You Are?,” which follows celebs as they learn their personal histories.

“It’s a quality show,” Telegdy said. “It’s nice to see the audience hasn’t punished us for doing something contemplative. It’s thinking man’s or woman’s TV. And we continue to attract interesting casting.”

Show, which will also likely serve as a utility midseason entry, has averaged a 1.6/6 with adults 18-49 and 6.8 million viewers. 

Pickup comes after “Who Do You Think You Are?” won last Friday 8 p.m. in the adults 18-49 demo.

Wall to Wall Prods. is behind the show, along with Is Or Isn’t Ent. Lisa Kudrow exec produces, along with Alex Graham and Dan Bucatinsky. Show is based on a BBC doc series.

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