'Life' longer; 'Lost' to Wed.

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NBC has given a full-season order to its detective drama "Life," ordering the back nine episodes from Universal Media Studios.

The pickup comes despite a modest performance from "Life" last week in its new Wednesday night slot, where it earned a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49 and ranked fourth in the 9 p.m. hour. "Life" managed to outperform its recent Friday night average, however, and picks up viewers from time-shifted DVR viewing.

NBC previously gave a full pickup to "Knight Rider" and "Kath & Kim." Although "Kath" has been relatively stable on Thursday nights, "Knight Rider" has fallen sharply since receiving its order.

Also, ABC is scheduling a two-hour premiere for the Season 5 debut of its Emmy-winning thriller "Lost" on Wednesday, Jan. 21. The premiere will be preceded by a one-hour clip show.

That means "Lost" is returning to its 9 p.m. Wednesday period. The most recent fourth season aired on Thursdays — first at 9 p.m., then shifting to 10 p.m. after "Grey's Anatomy" returned to air after the WGA strike. The new premiere date also is slightly earlier than last season.

ABC has lined up 17 episodes for 2009, which is one more than the show's now-standard 16-episode tally. The network added an extra hour to compensate for last year, which was cut short because of the strike. Also, Reiko Aylesworth ("24") is in negotiations for a major recurring role on the drama.

The recently picked-up "Private Practice" currently is in the same slot, and there's no word yet where it will go once "Lost" returns.

The full-season order for "Life" is the latest twist of fate for the quirky police drama: "Life" launched in fall 2007, then was shut down because of the WGA strike. The show returned in September to "Heroes" welcome on Monday nights, airing for two weeks after the action-drama series in NBC's strongest slot. Then NBC shifted "Life" to Fridays at 10 p.m., where the its ratings crashed. Now the network has swapped "Life" with the underperforming "Lipstick Jungle," where it is now the tentpole 9 p.m. drama in a new Wednesday crime block. (partialdiff)
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