NBC Picks Up 'Chuck' and 'Life;' Sets 'Gladiators' Premiere

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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NBC has picked up freshman dramas "Chuck" and "Life" for nine more episodes, the network announced.

"'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, 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."

The pickups are unexpected as the writers strike has made networks reluctant to order additional episodes since no scripts are being written. The "Life" pickup especially is a surprise, as the show has performed modestly in recent weeks, coming in last place on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. "Chuck," which is still in production, has averaged a 3.4 rating among adults 18-49. "Life," whose production has ceased, has averaged a 3.0.

Absent from the list of NBC fall series pickups so far: "Bionic Woman" and "Journeyman."

The network is expected to announce a midseason schedule this week, but one key detail has emerged. The network aired a promo during its "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" coverage that revealed a premiere date for its "American Gladiators" revamp: Sunday, Jan. 6.

The "Gladiators" usual time period will not be on Sundays, however. Sources say the show will almost certainly switch to a midweek night after its premiere.
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