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[07/12/06 - 12:00 AM]
New Seasons Ahead for 'Mencia,' 'Rescue,' 'Simple Life'
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The cable portion of the TCA's Summer Press Tour kicked off this week with some good news for three series - Comedy Central's "Mind of Mencia," FX's "Rescue Me" and E!'s "The Simple Life" - as each will return for the 2006-07 season.

Sony Pictures Television-based "Rescue Me," which wraps its third season on August 29, will return for another 13-episode go around in the second quarter of 2007. Executive producers Denis Leary, Peter Tolan and Jim Serpico as well as the entire cast are all set to return. To date this season, "Rescue Me" has averaged 2.9 million viewers (1.8 million of which are among adults 18-49), up 10% and 8% respectively in year-to-year comparisons.

As for "Mencia," look for a third season of 16 episodes to launch in the first quarter of 2007. The series returned for the second half of its second season this past Sunday, averaging a solid 2.4 million viewers - down only 7.69% from its "Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes" lead-in. Overall this season "Mencia" is averaging 2.1 million viewers, up nearly 55% from its freshman run.

Finally, E!'s "The Simple Life" has been given a fifth season pick-up following its stellar performance for the cable channel. Bunim-Murray Productions and 20th Century Fox Television are behind the series, which will return sometime next year. Stars Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are still under contract for a fifth season, although it's not clear if the show will retain its "'Til Death Do Us Part" format for the new season.





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· CHAPPELLE'S SHOW (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· MIND OF MENCIA (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· RESCUE ME (FX)
· SIMPLE LIFE, THE (E)





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