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‘Blue’ sees green for 11th season

Alphabet signs 'You,' 'Family Affair' to full season

ABC has booked another year of “NYPD Blue,” picking up the Steven Bochco cop drama for an 11th season.

Meanwhile, the WB has given the full-season thumbs-up to two more laffers: “What I Like About You” and “Family Affair.”

The early “NYPD Blue” renewal came after Bochco said he opted to begin negotiations with ABC by triggering a contractual clause that gave the net 30 days to make a deal for “Blue.”

Had ABC not acted by Oct. 24, the producer would have been free to shop “Blue” around town. Instead, the show is now locked in for the 2003-2004 season.

“We pushed the button right before the season premiere,” Bochco told Daily Variety. “I wanted to resolve the issue, so if we weren’t coming back I could shop the show elsewhere. Fortunately, we were able to come to agreement that both sides are happy about.”

ABC currently pays around $2.25 million an episode for “NYPD Blue.”

Bochco said he’s glad to have a renewal for season 11 in his pocket.

“It’s a good jolt of confidence knowing you’re coming back,” he said. “It tells everyone the work you’re doing is paying off.”

Bochco said he’s very pleased with the creative direction of “Blue” this season as well as ABC’s efforts at promoting it.

“They’ve done their job, and we’ve done ours,” he said.

As for how long “Blue” can remain on the air, Bochco said he thinks the show still has at least a couple more years left in it.

“I’ve always thought that this show is for sure a 12-year show,” he said. “Then you have to wait and see (beyond that).”

“NYPD Blue” has won its Tuesday 10 p.m. time slot in all three tries since returning for a 10th season on Sept. 24. Season to date, the show has averaged a 5.2 rating and 14 share, up vs. “Philly’s” perf in the time slot a year ago (4.4/11). The skein’s Oct. 8 broadcast scored “Blue’s” best numbers since last November.

As strong as ever

” ‘NYPD Blue’ is creatively as strong today as it was a decade ago,” ABC Entertainment prexy Susan Lyne said. “It is a tentpole of our new Tuesday lineup and a key element in our effort to rebuild the schedule.

“Over the years, Steven Bochco, Dennis Franz and the other members of this incredibly talented team have maintained a level of quality in their work that has made ‘Blue’ one of the most consistently powerful dramas on television,” she said.

Bochco and David Milch created “Blue,” which premiered Sept. 21, 1993. The skein has won 19 Emmys through the years and has been nominated for 82 trophies. “Blue” still holds the record for most-ever Emmy noms in a single season, 27, which it scored in its frosh year.

Besides Bochco, Mark Tinker and Bill Clark exec produce “Blue.”

Back nine for two

As for “What I Like About You” and “Family Affair,” the back nine orders on both shows came a day after the WB picked up its other two frosh laffers, “Do Over” and “Greetings From Tucson.”

“What I Like About You,” the Warner Bros./Tollin-Robbins sitcom starring Amanda Bynes and Jennie Garth as mismatched sisters, has averaged 3.5 million viewers and a 1.8 rating/8 share among adults 18-34 on Friday nights.

Wil Calhoun, Dan Schneider, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola exec produce “What I Like About You.”

“We credit Tollin and Robbins as really the catalyst to the whole project,” said Warner Bros. TV prexy Peter Roth. “Between Amanda and Jennie, we’re delighted with their comedic talents. It’s a vote of confidence that resonates with us.”

“Family Affair,” which comes from Pariah TV and Turner Television, has averaged 3.2 million and a 1.0/3 with adults 18-34 in its tough Thursday night slot.

The contemporary remake, from exec producers Bob Young, Gavin Polone, Sid & Marty Krofft and Randy Pope, stars Gary Cole and Tim Curry.

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)

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