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NBC backs rookie dramas

'Watch,' 'Law' get 22-seg orders

The new fall season is just a week old, but NBC is already giving a strong vote of confidence to rookie dramas “Third Watch” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

The Peacock picked up the back nine segs on both shows Friday, upping its commitment to 22 segs of each skein. Webs usually wait to see a few weeks’ worth of ratings before giving full-season pickups to frosh series, but NBC execs apparently felt strongly about the early perfs of both programs.

“Now that we have a few episodes of each of these dramas in hand and have seen the strong premiere ratings, it’s clear that they can become big hits for NBC,” NBC Entertainment prexy Garth Ancier said. “We’re glad to be in business with the outstanding creative talents behind ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ and ‘Third Watch,’ and we look forward to many more seasons of compelling, successful drama from them.”

“Third Watch,” from John Wells Prods. and Warner Bros. Television, and “Special Victims Unit,” from Wolf Films and Studios USA Television, both saw solid bows last week.

A special Thursday preem of “Watch” easily dominated its 10 p.m. timeslot to become last week’s top-rated drama launch. “Special Victims Unit” ranked third in its 9 p.m. Monday time period, but still managed to give NBC its best Nielsen ratings for the premiere of a Monday series since 1990.