CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- FOX is rallying behind its summer drama "The O.C.," ordering five additional episodes of the series beyond the 22 already ordered. The news marks FOX's largest single season commitment to a scripted series since "Beverly Hills, 90210's" final season (also 27 episodes).
Interestingly enough, the extension comes more than a week before "The O.C." returns to FOX's schedule where it has yet to prove itself in its new Wednesday, 9:00/8:00c home. Nevertheless, FOX executives say the key reason for the additional episodes was to avoid in-season repeats of the series. With the additional five installments, FOX will have 20 fresh episodes to run during the regular season.
For its seven-week summer run, "The O.C." averaged 8.43 million viewers and increased its viewership by more than 17% from its premiere by the end of the summer. Josh Schwartz, Doug Liman, McG, Dave Bartis and Bob DeLaurentis are the executive producers of the series, which comes from Warner Bros. Television.
Meanwhile in other FOX news, the network has announced it will bench Friday comedies "Wanda at Large" and "Luis" this week in favor of an encore of "Skin's" pilot episode. The "Skin" repeat will air at 9:00/8:00c with a new episode of "Boston Public" moving up to lead off the night at 8:00/7:00c.