CBS picks up 'Old Christine,' 'Mother'

UPDATED: Also brings back 'The Unit,' sets 'Shark' free

Fashionably late as usual, CBS on Tuesday became the last network to decide the fate of its bubble series.

It was a split decision as the network renewed comedies "How I Met Your Mother," "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and "Rules of Engagement" and drama "The Unit," while canceling "Shark" and cult favorite "Moonlight."

The four will join CBS' previously re-upped series as well as recently picked-up newbies "Eleventh Hour," "The Mentalist," "The Ex List," "Harper's Island," "Project Gary" and "Worst Week" when the network unveils its 2008-09 lineup today at Carnegie Hall in New York.

The news of "Moonlight's" demise certainly will devastate the show's devoted fans who recently organized a nationwide blood drive to rally viewer support for the vampire series.

The drama of the show's renewal was closely watched on the heels of the rocky run of another CBS cult favorite, "Jericho." Under fan pressure, CBS last summer resurrected "Jericho" for a second season despite mediocre ratings only to see the series plummet when it returned this year.

Featuring a similarly serialized story line and drawing similarly soft ratings, "Moonlight" ultimately lost its battle for a midseason reprieve.

Meanwhile, the orders for "Mother," "Christine," "Rules" and "Unit" are all said to be for 22 episodes.

The renewal for "Christine" came Tuesday morning, a day before CBS' upfront presentation and hours before ABC was to unveil its own lineup. Sources said ABC was ready to announce a 22-episode pickup of the Julia Louis-Dreyfus starrer if CBS opted for a cancellation or a shorter order.

The renewal for "Mother" comes after a strong return for the show after the WGA strike, buoyed by guest appearances by Britney Spears.

Meanwhile, CBS brass is said to have been pleased by Shawn Ryan's outline for the upcoming season of "Unit."

The full-season orders for "Christine" and "Rules," which have shared a time slot in the Monday comedy block, fueled further speculation that CBS will be opening a second comedy block, possibly on Wednesday. Some sources indicated, however, that "Rules" might be held for midseason.

"Christine" is rumored to be an anchor of that block, possibly paired with newcomer "Worst Week."

Veteran "Without a Trace" is said to be on the move again. Once transplanted from Thursday to Sunday and then back to Thursday, the crime drama is expected to air on Tuesday next season, keeping its summer Tuesday 10 p.m. slot or shifting to 9 p.m.

CBS also is expected to make permanent the summer move of "Cold Case" to 10 p.m. Sundays.

Buzzed as possible new unscripted additions to CBS' schedule are "America's Top Dog," "Splitsville," "The Million Dollar Password" and maybe "Game Show in My Head."