Shows return to NBC, ABC

'Will,' 'Practice,' 'NYPD,' 'Once' renewed

File these announcements under “duh”: NBC has picked up “Will & Grace” for two more years, while ABC has given the green light to “The Practice,” “NYPD Blue” and “Once and Again.”

The two-year extension on “Will & Grace” brings the show just about up to the number of episodes necessary for off-network syndication. The sophomore sitcom has turned into one of the Peacock’s top laffers from both a critical and ratings standpoint.

“This commitment from the network enables NBC Studios to make an early distribution arrangement with Warner Bros. Domestic Distribution,” said Ted Harbert, prexy of NBC Studios, which produces the series along with Three Sisters Entertainment.

The off-net run of “Will & Grace” is being sold by Warner Bros. for a fall 2002 debut. The show has already been sold to Tribune’s 22 stations.

‘Will & Grace’ up

Season to date, “Will & Grace” has averaged a 6.1 rating among adults 18- 49, up 6% from last year. The show also pulls 11.9 million viewers a week, up 8% from last year.

Max Mutchnick and David Kohan created and exec produce the series; James Burrows is director and exec producer.

” ‘Will & Grace’ has been a proven performer for us, and it’s exciting to see such a series hit its creative stride,” NBC Entertainment president Garth Ancier said.

Over at ABC, the network gave a vote of confidence to frosh drama “Once and Again,” which has shown potential but hasn’t yet managed to break out.

The Ed Zwick/Marshall Herskovitz series, from Touchstone Television and Bedford Falls, averages a 5.5 rating among adults 18-49, making it the top-rated new drama in the demo. Series averages 11.1 million viewers per week.

‘Practice’ goes for five

“The Practice’s” renewal brings the David E. Kelley show back for a fifth season. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television, “The Practice” has averaged a 7.2 rating among adults 18-49 and 17.5 million viewers this season.

Steven Bochco’s “NYPD Blue” — which got a late start this season but finally landed back on Tuesdays — returns for an eighth season next year. The long-running cop drama averages a 6.9 rating among adults 18-49 and 15.9 million viewers.

“We are incredibly proud of all three of these outstanding dramas,” said ABC Entertainment Television Group co-chairmen Stu Bloomberg and Lloyd Braun in a statement. “We consider each one of them a signature show for our network.”

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