USA wants more 'Monk'

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"Monk" will be back on the case for a seventh season.

USA Network has given a 16-episode order to the drama series that stars Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, a brilliant detective who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. The cable channel is targeting a July premiere for the first half of the show, which is from Universal Media Studios in association with Mandeville Films and ABC Studios, and January for the second half.

In addition to Shalhoub, the rest of the cast also is set to return, including Traylor Howard, Ted Levine and Jason Gray-Stanford.

Shalhoub -- who has earned three Emmys, a Golden Globe and two SAG Awards for his role -- also executive produces with David Hoberman, Andy Breckman and Randy Zisk.

USA executive vp original programming Jeff Wachtel said it was a no-brainer renewing the series, saying it serves as both a tentpole series for the network's "Characters Welcome" brand as well as a launch pad for new shows. He noted that "Monk" is up 22% in the adults 18-49 demo and 15% in adults 25-54 for what USA calls the current "winter season" vs. the same period a year ago.

"You might say we were 'obsessed' with making this deal," Wachtel said. "Let's face it: It's not easy to 'wash your hands' of a show like 'Monk.' We have high hopes that this summer it will once again 'clean up' in the ratings."

Wachtel, who said there are no plans for any radical changes for the seventh season, noted that the tentative plan is to once again pair "Monk" with "Psych" but emphasized that nothing is set in stone. "Psych," also from Universal Media Studios, got renewed with a 16-episode order in September and also is set to return in the summer.

Meanwhile, "Monk" aired the first part of its sixth-season finale at 9 p.m. Friday night, drawing 5.6 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's on par with the 5.7 million averaged by the second-half season premiere last month. In the key adult demos, "Monk" pulled in 2.1 million in 18-49 and 2.5 million in 25-54.

Leading out of "Monk," "Psych" aired its second-season finale at 10 p.m. Friday. The episode averaged 4.7 million viewers, which also was on par with its "winter-season premiere" in January. That includes 2 million adults 18-49 and 2.2 million viewers 25-54.
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