CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- More than a half-dozen series inched closer to full season orders yesterday as ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC each issued additional script orders for their respective freshman classes:
ABC has picked up four more scripts for each of its new comedies ("I'm With Her," "It's All Relative," "Married to the Kellys" and "Hope & Faith"); NBC has asked for five additional scripts of "Whoopi" and "Happy Family; CBS will go forward with six more scripts of "Joan of Arcadia" and "Cold Case"; while FOX is already looking ahead to midseason, asking for three more scripts for the drama "Still Life." Should the networks decide to order additional episodes beyond their initial 13-episode commitments (except for "Still Life," whose episode order is not known) they will be shot off these new scripts.
Overall just three new series have received full season 22-episode pickups this season (NBC's "Las Vegas," UPN's "All of Us" and "Eve") in addition to FOX's summer drama "The O.C." That's a major shift from last season which at this point had already seen 10 freshman series receive full season orders ("Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," "Life With Bonnie," "Everwood," "Less Than Perfect," "Do Over," "Greetings from Tucson," "Boomtown," "American Dreams," "What I Like About You," "Family Affair") and four shows get canceled ("Push, Nevada," "That Was Then," "Off Centre," "Providence").
The disparity is no doubt due to the lack of any real breakout hits this season which has caused the broadcast networks to be more conservative about their renewals and cancellations. Viewers can expect the chopping block to get some work in the next two weeks however as the networks prepare their November sweeps schedules.