Net gives 20-episode pickup to comedy

The heat is on at TV Land. The Viacom cabler has given a 20-episode pickup to its frosh laffer “Hot in Cleveland.”

Series, which hails from Sean Hayes’ Hazy Mills Prods. banner, has gotten TV Land’s first foray into original scripted programming off to a running start. “Cleveland” has been a strong performer for the cabler in the Wednesday 10 p.m. time slot since its June 16 debut with 4.7 million viewers. TV Land gave the show an initial 10-episode order.

During the past two weeks, “Cleveland” has averaged about 4 million-5 million viewers for its initial telecasts (TV Land follows the first telecast with a repeat of the same seg at 10:30 p.m.). It’s delivering big numbers, by TV Land standards, in key femme demos, including a 2.1 in women 18-49 and a 2.7 in women 25-54.

“Cleveland’s” appeal undoubtedly has been boosted by virtue of having the “it” girl of the moment, Betty White, along with sitcom vets Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick has drawn solid critical notices. Sitcom lensed in classic multi-camera style revolves around three women of a certain age from L.A. who discover that they are still considered hot commodities in Cleveland and thus decide to relocate to the Midwestern burg.

“We absolutely love the show,” said TV Land prexy Larry Jones in announcing the order.

“Hot in Cleveland” was the first sitcom ordered by TV Land last year after the cabler decided to wade into scripted series. Its second original laffer, “Retired at 35,” is set to bow next spring.

Suzanne Martin is creator and exec producer of “Hot in Cleveland.” Hayes and Hazy Mills’ Todd Milliner and Lynda Obst also exec produce.

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