TV

RICK KUSHMAN: On the run, and on the shows' runs

It's Wednesday, and that means it's time for our newest feature: What'd They Do to My Show?

Good news for fans of three ABC rookies. The network announced early renewals for "Ugly Betty," "Brothers & Sisters" and "Men in Trees."

The first two were expected, but "Men in Trees" looked like a tossup, and the guess was that ABC would wait until the unveiling of the fall lineup in May.

But ABC decided to go the vote-of-confidence route. ABC also announced the slam-dunk renewals of "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives," "Lost" and "Dancing With the Stars," plus the return next fall of "Boston Legal" and, for some unknown reason, "The Bachelor."

That's not all of ABC's shows, however, and there's still no word on the witty "Knights of Prosperity."

Fox ordered 13 more episodes of the new game "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" That means the amiable little show will run through the end of the season in May. You also can bet it will return next season.

"5th Grader" premiered right after "American Idol" and drew 23 million viewers. No one thought it would keep those numbers when it moved to its regular 8 p.m. Thursday slot without the help from "Idol." Last week, the show drew more than 12 million viewers, a very solid performance for Fox, which has barely been turning on lights on Thursdays.

In another non-surprise, Fox announced last week that it's renewing "Prison Break" for a third season. "Prison Break" has averaged more than 9 million viewers and is doing a good job drawing the younger viewers advertisers adore. Producers said the coming season will be another major change of focus for the show, the way this season went from getting out of prison to being on the run.

The Sci Fi Channel, which has already renewed "Battlestar Galactica" for a fourth season beginning in early 2008, increased the number of episodes from 13 to 22.

"Battlestar" just finished its season in style - as always - Sunday, and Sci Fi said the series will try to keep fans engaged by producing a special two-hour event next fall.

People have asked about HBO's stellar "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Here's what I can tell you: Not much. It's coming back. Sometime. Don't know when. I'll keep you posted.

A couple of folks also asked about CBS' "Shark." We've talked about this; when a network has special events such as the NCAA basketball tournament, it doesn't mean they're canceling any shows. "Shark" returns Thursday and seems a shoo-in for renewal for next season.

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