'Monk' looks at final season

USA show to end following eighth season

"Monk" will soon be solving his last case.

USA Network said Friday that it is giving its long-running hit series an eighth- and final-season pickup with a 16-episode order. The final season of the show -- starring Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, a brilliant detective who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder -- will debut in the summer.

Sources said the decision to end "Monk" after its eighth season was reached mutually by all parties involved with the show who wanted to bring the series to an end while it was still firing on all creative cylinders. And, after seven seasons, the show's high price tag likely made it hard for USA to justify going beyond an eighth season.

"Monk" still is going strong from a ratings standpoint, posting series-high viewership numbers in February among key demos and total viewers and seeing its viewership in 2008 grow significantly over 2007. Through 2008, "Monk" is averaging 5 million total viewers, including 2 million in adults 18-49 and 2.5 million in adults 25-54.

Jeff Wachtel, executive vp original programming at USA Network and co-head of original content at Universal Cable Prods., said in a statement, "Our fans have been extremely dedicated, and Season 8 should prove to be a very satisfying reward."

Traylor Howard, Ted Levine and Jason Gray-Stanford also star in the series, which is from Universal Cable Prods. in association with Mandeville Films and ABC Studios. Exec producers are David Hoberman, Andy Breckman, Shalhoub, Randy Zisk and Tom Scharpling.
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