Fox's 'Connor' gets 2nd year, earlier launch


She'll be back — and sooner than you think.

Not only has Fox has picked up "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" for a second round, the show is returning in the fall.

"Connor" premiered in January as a midseason drama, but Fox is shifting the show to its fall lineup for next season. The network on Monday handed a 13-episode order to the sci-fi drama, an extension of the "Terminator" feature franchise. The series revolves around Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) and her son, John (Thomas Dekker), as they battle enemies from the future with the help of a goodhearted terminator, Cameron (Summer Glau).

"Although it was a screwy year, even with the soft competition audiences rejected many other shows," Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said. "Advertisers loved it, and Josh Friedman did an incredible job taking a beloved franchise and finding the episodic voice of the show."

Reilly said "Connor" likely will get a new time period in the fall rather than stay at 9 p.m. Mondays. NBC put the similarly sci-fi-tinged "Heroes" in that slot; that show was on hiatus due to the writers strike when "Connor" aired this season.

"Connor" also could get an early back-nine order, Reilly said. In May 2009, Warner Bros. will release the fourth "Terminator" film, which could make for some ideal corporate synergy should the TV series survive the fall. Reilly said he's already spoken to the film's director McG about cross-promotional possibilities.

"We're a living commercial for the franchise," Reilly said. "You may see do some co-marketing efforts. If the show's working, that's going to be a no-brainer for us in May."

"Connor," which launched in January, is the highest-rated new scripted series this season among adults 18-49 with an average of a 4.4 rating/10 share. The Warner Bros. TV-produced series drew an average of 10.5 million total viewers.

"Connor" had been considered a shoo-in for a renewal, along with Fox's freshman comedy "Back to You," which has yet to be picked up.