Given the dismal state of this year's crop of new series, it's no wonder that the networks are looking to hold on to the few ratings standouts as they crop up.
So it's no surprise then that ABC has given full season orders to two freshman dramas in its stable, Ugly Betty and Brothers & Sisters, picking up the back nine episodes for both ... which means a full 22 episodes for fans of Mode magazine or the Walker clan.
ABC's Ugly Betty has averaged the second place spot among A18-49 on Thursday nights (just behind CBS' Survivor) and an average of 15.3 million viewers. It's also worth noting that Betty is the top freshman series among Latino viewers, with an average of 1.13 million viewers. Meanwhile, Brothers & Sisters won its 10 pm timeslot this past Sunday night among the key demo, A18-49 (4.9/12), and across the board with female viewers.
While no ratings behemoths along the lines of previous breakouts Lost, Desperate Housewives, or Grey's Anatomy, both have managed to strike a chord with viewers and carve out an audience, with Betty being one of the few bright spots in the freshman class. (The other two breakouts, Jericho and Heroes, have already gotten full season pickups from their respective networks.) It also proves somewhat that the networks need to be programming more female-friendly fare (like Betty or Brothers & Sisters) and that a drama need not be highly serialized in order to find a following. In fact, something tells me that next season we'll see the networks developing a whole slew of Betty clones.
Let's just hope they don't bring along any Guadalajara ponchos.
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Jace's blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionary.blogspot.com.