'Lights' Stay On at NBC
Network renews drama, adds four new shows
NBC has renewed its critically adored but low-rated drama "Friday Night Lights" for next season, the showbiz trade papers report. The network is also giving series orders to four pilots: A remake of "The Bionic Woman," time-travel drama "Journeyman," quirky cop show "Life" and the comedic spy thriller "Chuck."
The network will make its formal 2007-08 schedule announcement Monday at its upfront presentation. The news of "FNL's" renewal removes some of the suspense from the day -- although not all of it, as the fate of several series is still up in the air.
Although it drew only a little over 6 million viewers per week this season, NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly made no secret of his love for the show, which stars Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, and has hinted strongly that it would return next season. The network had previously ordered six scripts for a second season.
Among the new shows, "Journeyman" has been a strong contender for much of pilot season. It stars Kevin McKidd ("Rome") as a man who travels back and forth in time; "West Wing" veterans Kevin Falls and Alex Graves are executive producing.
Josh Schwartz ("The O.C.") created "Chuck," which centers on a techie (Zachary Levi) who inadvertently has government secrets embedded in his brain. "The Bionic Woman," which has gone through some fairly serious retooling, is a remake of the 1970s series; it stars Michelle Ryan and counts David Eick ("Battlestar Galactica"), Jason Smilovic ("Kidnapped") and Glen Morgan ("The X-Files").
"Life" stars Damian Lewis ("Band of Brothers") as a cop who was wrongly imprisoned for a crime and rejoins the force upon his release. Rand Ravich ("The Astronaut's Wife") created the show.
NBC has yet to decide the fate of "Scrubs" -- which could move to ABC if NBC passes -- "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." Among its pilots, the drama "Lipstick Jungle" and comedies "The IT Crowd" and "Lipshitz Saves the World" are still contenders, the trades say.