Following big ratings for its five-episode run this summer, “The 4400” will return to USA next year with an additional 13 episodes.

The series, which began with 4,400 people returning to Earth after being reported missing or believed dead and not having aged since their disappearance, will begin filming its second season in February. New episodes are set for June.

“We knew “The 4400′ was special from the beginning,” says Jeff Wachtel, head of original programming at USA. “It has all the elements we look for in a series – a big concept, memorable characters, and an arena that no other network is doing right now. It just works for us in every way.”

It worked in the ratings too. “The 4400” averaged more than 6.2 million viewers in its first season, making it the highest-rated show on basic cable this summer. Nearly half of those viewers fell in the adults 18-49 demographic favored by advertisers.

‘Smallville’ goes to fifth dimension

The producers of “Smallville” are continuing to bring characters from the DC Comics universe into the show.

Following Lois Lane (Erica Durrance) and an appearance by the future Flash, Bart Allen (Kyle Gallner), in Wednesday’s episode, the show will bring one of Superman’s nemeses to Smallville for the Nov. 3 episode.

Trent Ford (“How to Deal”) will guest-star as Mikail Mxyzptlk, a “foreign exchange student” who comes to Smallville and disrupts the lives of Clark Kent (Tom Welling) and his friend Chloe (Allison Mack). In Superman lore, Mxyzptlk is a mischief-maker from the fifth dimension who periodically pops up to torment the Man of Steel.

In the “Smallville” episode, Mxyzptlk draws Chloe into a gambling ring, then cleans her out by using his powers to manipulate all the bettors. After she discovers his secret, he kidnaps her.

Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), meanwhile, threatens Mxyzptlk with deportation unless he’ll use his abilities to benefit Lex.

‘Housewives’ earns full season

In one of its easiest calls in several years, ABC has given full-season orders to its two first-year hits, “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost.”

Given the out-of-the-box success of both shows, it’s almost a little surprising the network waited this long to make the announcement. “Desperate Housewives” is the most-watched new series of the season – and third overall – while “Lost” is No. 3 among first-year shows (CBS’ “CSI: NY” is second).

The darkly comic soap “Desperate Housewives,” which stars Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman and Eva Longoria, has drawn more than 20.8 million viewers per week through its first three episodes. It’s the most-watched show on Sunday night, and just as important, draws a stellar 9.0 rating in the ad-friendly demographic of adults 18-49.

“Lost,” meanwhile, has emerged as the dominant program in its 8 p.m. Wednesday spot. The drama about plane-crash survivors from J.J. Abrams (“Alias”) and Damon Lindelof (“Crossing Jordan”) averages about 17.6 million viewers a week and has improved the network’s 18-49 ratings for the hour by 40 percent over the comparable period last season.


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