LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The WB has rolled back its commitment to its Friday comedy "What I Like About You" as only 18 episodes are set to be produced this season.
It's understood the decision is being viewed as a cost-saving measure by the network and producer Warner Bros. Television as 86 episodes will have been produced by the end of the 2005-06 season, more than enough for any potential off-network sale.
Caryn Lucas, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola are the show's executive producers.
On the flip side, the news was much better yesterday for FOX newcomer "Kitchen Confidential" and NBC's returning comedy "The Office."
FOX has asked for three additional scripts of the freshman half-hour, which returns with new episodes on November 14. The extra scripts will give the network a longer window to make its final decision about the show's fate. Darren Star, Dave Hemingson, Jim Rosenthal and David Knoller are the executive producers of "Confidential," a co-production of 20th Century Fox Television, New Line Television and Darren Star Productions.
As for "The Office," the Peacock reportedly is close to giving the series a full season order of 22 episodes. So far NBC has committed to 16 installments this season, after initially committing to just six when it opened its sophomore run. Industry insiders however say the final count will be hindered by Steve Carell's busy film schedule, which includes more than a half-dozen features in the next two years.
Still far from a ratings success, "The Office" nevertheless has seen its retention rate of lead-in "My Name Is Earl" improve over the course of the season. Preliminary numbers from Tuesday saw "The Office" hold 68.42% of "Earl's" audience in households and 70.91% in adults 18-49, up from 62.37% and 67.19% respectively for its September 20 season opener.
Reveille and NBC Universal Television are behind "The Office," with Ben Silverman, Greg Daniels, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Howard Klein serving as executive producers.
Finally with November sweeps underway, here's a refresher on the status of all 31 new series this fall:
FULL SEASON ORDERED (all 22 episodes unless noted) - "Bones" (FOX), "Commander-In-Chief" (ABC), "Criminal Minds" (CBS), "Everybody Hates Chris" (UPN), "Ghost Whisperer" (CBS), "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS), "Invasion" (ABC), "My Name Is Earl" (NBC, 24 episodes), "Out of Practice" (CBS), "Prison Break" (FOX), "Supernatural" (The WB), "The War at Home" (FOX)
ADDITIONAL EPISODES ORDERED - "Surface" (NBC, TBA additional episodes), "Three Wishes" (NBC, six additional episodes)
ADDITIONAL SCRIPTS ORDERED - "E-Ring" (NBC, three additional scripts), "Killer Instinct" (FOX, three additional scripts), "Kitchen Confidential" (FOX, three additional scripts), "Reunion" (FOX, four additional scripts), "Threshold" (CBS, three additional scripts)
CANCELED - "Head Cases" (FOX), "Inconceivable" (NBC), "Just Legal" (The WB), "Sex, Love & Secrets" (UPN)
NO ADDITIONAL EPISODES OR SCRIPTS ORDERED - "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" (NBC), "Close to Home" (CBS), "Freddie" (ABC), "Hot Properties" (ABC), "Love, Inc." (UPN), "Night Stalker" (ABC), "Related" (The WB), "Twins" (The WB)