Prison Break is ready to serve a longer sentence.
Fox has ordered nine more installments of the serial drama, giving it a full-season order of 22 episodes. The thriller series, starring Wentworth Miller as an engineer who gets himself locked up in hopes of helping his brother (Dominic Purcell) escape death row, was sprung on the air Aug. 29, before the other networks rolled out their new seasons. It attracted an average of 10.5 million viewers, ranking as the week's top program in the all-important adult 18-49 demographic, at a time when Hurricane Katrina news was swamping the networks. But more importantly it has continued to hold up well in the ratings now the competing Monday, 9 p.m. lineups are in place.
The network, which last week axed the legal dramedy Head Cases after just two episodes, also gave a full-season order to Seth MacFarlane's American Dad. The 'toon, featuring rah-rah CIA agent Stan Smith and his wacky family, premiered in May in tandem with the return of MacFarlane's Family Guy.
Although American Dad has not been as hot as Family Guy, the pairing of the two half-hours makes for a successful Sunday, 9-10 p.m. slot, popular with the younger audiences advertisers favor.
Like Prison Break, American Dad is produced by the network's in-house 20th Century Fox Television.
Meanwhile, NBC got in on the reupping. The Peacock, still struggling to regain its stature in the Nielsens, ordered seven more episodes of The Office, the workplace sitcom it transposed from England, bringing the season order to 13.
Now in its second year, the show is still struggling for audience share, but NBC is sticking with the comedy, perhaps becuase of the big-screen success of star Steve Carell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The show, airing behind the rookie hit My Name Is Earl at 9:30 on Tuesday, is produced in association with NBC Universal Television Studios.
Finally, USA Networks' critically praised sci-fi mystery The 4400, which earned an Emmy nomination as Best Miniseries, will return for another 13 episodes. The show concluded its first 13-episode season in August after premiering as a limited series in July 2004, attracting 7.4 million--at that time a record for a basic cable series--and becoming an instant hit for the cable offshoot of NBC Universal.
The series, coproduced by Paramount Television, will begin shooting new episodes this winter in Vancouver, for probable airing next summer.