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January 06, 2009

CBS plans return of 'Rules of Engagement'

Rulesof And the show that will take the place of "Worst Week" on CBS' midseason schedule is ...

"Rules of Engagement."

A tad anticlimactic, sure.

Most expected the Sony/CBS Paramount comedy, which has been waiting in the wings to return this season, to enjoy a spin in the coveted comedy slot. "Rules" performed well for the network last year, averaging 10.9 million viewers and a 4.1 rating among adults 18-49. The show will drop March 2 after "Two and a Half Men" and take CBS’ Monday lineup through the rest of the season. CBS is expected to make the announcement tomorrow, sources say.

“Worst” will wrap up its debut season on Feb 9 (the network will likely air repeats in the slot until the "Rules" premiere). CBS ordered and will air 15 episodes of "Worst," putting the half-hour in an unusual limbo world of a series that wasn’t entirely cut short, yet wasn't a full order.

Fellow freshman comedy “Gary Unmarried” also received slightly shortened order -- 20 episodes -- but CBS has dubbed that a “full season” in its case, and a season renewal seems likely.

As for “Week,” CBS has not issued a verdict on its fate, and there's no clear call here. The show is a ratings gap in Monday night’s lineup despite having the highest-rated comedy lead-in on TV. Yet “Worst” has averaged fairly healthy numbers for a freshman series, especially this season -- 9.9 million and a 3.1 rating. A renewal order could hinge on how much comedy CBS wants next fall. Will CBS continue to air six comedies in primetime, including two on Wednesday nights? Or will it retreat to just airing its usual Monday night block?

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