NBC goes all the way with 'Chuck,' 'Life'

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UPDATED 8:46 p.m. PT Nov. 26, 2007

"Chuck" and "Life" have become the first freshman series to get full-season pickups at NBC.

The network has handed out back-nine orders to both dramas, which follow ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money" as the only rookie series to get full-season pickups since the start of the writers strike Nov. 5.

"Life" has shut down production because of the strike, and while "Chuck" remains in production, it was unclear how many scripts the series had ready before the strike began. There's still no word on pickups for NBC's other freshman dramas, "Bionic Woman" and "Journeyman."

" 'Chuck' and 'Life' stand out in a crowded TV landscape because they are smart, well-produced series with incredibly talented casts," said Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. "Both shows are hitting their stride creatively, have developed loyal audiences and offer unlimited potential to grow throughout the season."

"Chuck," exec produced by Josh Schwartz and McG, stars Zachary Levi as a computer geek who is catapulted into a new career as the government's most vital secret agent.

The series -- produced by College Hill Pictures, Wonderland Sound and Vision and Warner Bros. Television -- airs at 8 p.m. Mondays, where it's averaging 8.4 million total viewers and a 3.4 rating/9 share in 18-49. For the November sweep, "Chuck's" 3.1 rating in 18-39 was on par with "Deal or No Deal's" May sweep rating in the same time period.

"Life," which stars Damian Lewis, is from UMS and exec producers Rand Ravich, Far Shariat and Dan Sackheim.

The drama is averaging 8 million viewers and a 3.0/9 in 18-49 in its 10 p.m. Wednesday slot. "Life" held onto its entire 18-49 lead-in from "Bionic Woman" for the first time Nov. 14.

"Each week, this show has quietly built since its premiere into the little engine that could," Universal Media Studios president Katherine Pope said. "We have every confidence that this drama will continue to impress audiences and critics with the quality of the acting and the writing."
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