'Castle' gets a third season on ABC

nathan-fillion-stana-katic-castle-320.jpgNever mind the bubble: "Castle" will be back for a third season in 2010-11.

ABC confirms to Zap2it that it has picked up the series -- which is coming off two straight weeks of record ratings -- for next season. It will get a full complement of 22 episodes next year.

So far this season "Castle" is averaging 9.9 million viewers per week, up from 9.3 million last year, and a 2.6 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic. Those numbers will tick up a little after Monday's (March 29) episode, which drew a series high of 13.9 million viewers and a 3.5 in the demo.

The week before, the show drew 12.2 million viewers to surpass its previous best. The spike in numbers are the result of both a bigger lead-in -- two highly rated episodes of "Dancing with the Stars" -- and a two-part story in which Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) was threatened by a serial killer, activating the protective instincts of her partner in crime-solving, novelist Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion).

"Castle" joins a handful of other ABC scripted shows that are guaranteed spots in the network's 2010-11 lineup. The comedy trio of "The Middle," "Modern Family" and "Cougar Town" will be back, and so will drama "Brothers & Sisters." Mainstays "Grey's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives" haven't officially been renewed yet but are almost certain to be picked up.

ABC's pickup tracks with the overwhelming response of Zap2it readers in our annual Bubble Shows poll. Of the nearly 8,000 votes cast for "Castle" as of Tuesday afternoon, 89 percent voted to keep the show.

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Photo credit: ABC