ABC Eyes 13-Episode Final Season Of 'Private Practice'

I hear that ABC is in talks to pick up Private Practice for a 13-episode sixth and final season. I hear a final renewal decision on the bubble series has not been made yet but the series’ chances have been helped by its strong ratings performance last week. In its second airing in its new Tuesday 10 PM slot, the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff posted a 2.2/6 in adults 18-49, up 29% from its modest premiere on the night the week before, to log its most-watched telecast in more than a year and a half and its best 18-49 result in more than two months. While sources don’t completely rule out an 18-episode or even 22-episode pickup, I hear the conversation has focused on a 13-epsiode order and that star Kate Walsh, whose current deal is coming up, has committed to¬† 13 more episodes. If Private Practice is renewed, creator Shonda Rhimes could potentially have four series on the air next season: veteran Grey’s Anatomy, spinoff Private Practice, her freshman drama Scandal, which has garnered praise and done well enough to earn consideration for fall, and period drama Gilded Lilys, a pilot Rhimes executive produces with creator KJ Steinberg, which is in serious consideration for a series pickup. As for ABC’s two other bubble dramas, the Dana Delany starrer Body of Proof and the midseason soap GCB, both are still in contention. And both are owned by ABC Studios. Body Of Proof is a money maker as it sells well oversees but the question is whether ABC wants to keep a lone straight procedural on the schedule. The network’s slate of pilots for next season is dominated by soaps/serialized dramas and doesn’t include a single straight procedural. Meanwhile, GCB went through some growing pains creatively and its ratings have been on par with those for Body Of Proof but it does fit into ABC’s brand of soapy, escapist fare. ABC is not expected to make a decision until after it has screened all of its pilots. Complicating renewal plans on bubble shows is the fact that going into the screenings, which start tomorrow, virtually all pilots are still alive, giving the network a lot more options to consider for next season.

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