ABC extends 'Brothers & Sisters' order

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ABC has given a back-nine pickup to the freshman drama "Brothers & Sisters," bringing the total order for the family soap to 22 episodes.

"'Brothers & Sisters' is a great addition to our Sunday night lineup and has given us a strong complement to 'Desperate Housewives,'" ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson said.

"Brothers & Sisters" had a tough act to follow in the Sunday 10 p.m. time slot, taking over for red-hot medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" which relocated to Thursdays.

In its four airings to date, "Brothers & Sisters" has retained more than 60% of its "Desperate Housewives" demo lead-in, winning the 10-11 p.m. hour among adults 18-49. It also ranks a one of the top new series among affluent viewers.

This past Sunday, "Brothers & Sisters" averaged 12 million viewers and a 4.9 rating/12 share among adults 18-49.

"Brothers & Sisters," from Touchstone TV, boasts an A-list ensemble cast that includes Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths, Sally Field and Ron Rifkin. Ken Olin, Jon Robin Baitz and Greg Berlanti are executive producing.

The show underwent a major pre-launch makeover that included Sally Field replacing Betty Buckley as the family matriarch and original showrunner Marti Noxon exiting the series because of creative differences with creator/executive producer Baitz. Berlanti has since taken over as showrunner.

"Brother & Sisters" is the second new ABC series and fourth overall to receive a full-season order, joining ABC's "Ugly Betty," NBC's "Heroes" and CBS' "Jericho."
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