Someone at ABC must really like “life as we know it.”

The network has ordered four additional scripts for the struggling first-year drama, the Hollywood trade papers report. ABC has also struck a deal to air repeats of the show on MTV in three-hour blocks Dec. 4 and 11.

While the extra scripts won’t necessarily lead to extra episodes beyond “life’s” initial 13, the order can be seen as a small vote of confidence for the show, which enjoyed generally positive reviews but is stuck in the brutal 9 p.m. EST Thursday timeslot.

Through five airings, “life as we know it” is averaging only about 4 million viewers per week, making it ABC’s least-watched show of the season. It airs opposite “CSI,” the top-rated show on television, and “The Apprentice,” which is in the Nielsen top 15.

The show revolves around three high-school friends (Sean Faris, Chris Lowell and Jon Foster) dealing with the trials of growing up, sex chief among them. Ex-“Freaks and Geeks” writers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah created the series.

Bundy’s reunite on ‘8 Simple Rules’

Katey Sagal and former TV husband Ed O’Neill will come back into each other’s lives on “8 Simple Rules” later this season.

O’Neill will guest-star in an episode set for February sweeps, playing a former college boyfriend of Sagal’s character, Cate Hennessy. He’ll tape the episode in December.

Cate decides to look up her old boyfriend, just for kicks. Unfortunately for her, though, the guy has been carrying a torch for her all these years and takes her call as a sign that she feels the same way. He then drops everything to be with his unrequited love.

O’Neill and Sagal starred together for 10 years on “Married … with Children,” playing unhappy spouses Al and Peg Bundy. O’Neill has since starred in the CBS series “Big Apple” and ABC’s revival of “Dragnet.” along with such feature films as “Spartan” and “The Spanish Prisoner.”

‘DOE’ STAR HITS ‘NORTH SHORE,’ ESPOSITO JUDGES ‘AMY’

“John Doe” star Dominic Purcell is about to cook up some trouble on FOX’s struggling primetime soap “North Shore,” leading the latest round of casting news.

Purcell will play Tommy Ravetto, a world-famous chef, for at least three episodes of the FOX series, which has showed only slight ratings improvement since being paired with “The O.C.” in the network’s lineup. Purcell, who has a talent deal with FOX, is the latest guest star recruited to the Hawaiian shores to try to stir things up. The show has seen recent visits by familiar faces including Shannen Doherty and Jason Gedrick.

Also on FOX, Angela Goethals (“Phenom,” “The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire”) will take a recurring role on “24.” The actress will play the troubled daughter of the new CTU head played by Alberta Watson, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Nothing good ever happens to the troubled children of CTU agents, so Goethals should be careful.

“Spin City” and “Master of Disguise” co-star Jennifer Esposito will guest star on CBS’ Tuesday drama “Judging Amy.” The actress, last seen on the big screen in “Taxi,” will play a social worker operating an outreach program for homeless children. Esposito is signed on for three episodes.

The CBS telefilm “In from the Night” has added Tony winner Marian Seldes (“Mona Lisa Smile”).

In other casting news, Jane Lynch (“MDs”) will appear as a medical examiner in at least two episode of ABC’s police procedural “Blind Justice,” while Karen Sillas has joined the TNT pilot “Rush.”

‘AMAZING RACE 6′ CHARGES TO QUICK START

CBS’s latest exercise in globe-trotting gave the network a sizable ratings boost Tuesday, while it’s probably too early for a prognosis for FOX’s medical drama “House.”

Tuesday night’s (Nov. 16) premiere of “The Amazing Race 6” captured the show’s biggest season-opening audience since the first “Race” in September 2001. The two-hour episode drew about 11.8 million viewers, well above CBS’s season average for the time periods.

It also drew a 5.0 rating among adults 18-49, ranking second for the night (behind “Law & Order: SVU” on NBC) in the demographic advertisers target most heavily.

In the 9 p.m. hour, which will be its regular timeslot beginning next week, 11.7 million people watched “The Amazing Race.” That’s about 3 million viewers more than what the drama “Clubhouse” averaged in its brief run there. It also outperformed “Judging Amy,” which is averaging 10.5 million viewers this season and will return next week, in the 10 p.m. hour.

Meanwhile, “The Amazing Race’s” lead-in, “NCIS,” drew close to 15.3 million viewers, its biggest audience ever.

On FOX Tuesday, about 7 million people watched the premiere of the critically hailed “House,” which stars Hugh Laurie as an abrasive but brilliant doctor. While its numbers aren’t great, the show did build substantially on its lead-in, “The Rebel Billionaire” (5.4 million people).

Should it be able to sustain those ratings, “House” is likely to stick around for at least a little while. Lead-in help will arrive in January with the return of “American Idol.”

SPIKE SET TO PAY BIG FOR ‘CSI: NY’

Cable network Spike TV, already home to reruns of “CSI,” is on the verge of forking over a record sum for syndication rights to the franchise’s newest incarnation, “CSI: NY.”

Spike will pay as much as $1.9 million per episode of the series, which debuted on CBS this season and, like its two predecessors, has become a hit. The per-episode price would be a record for a series going to cable syndication, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Distributor King World and Spike are working out the final points of the deal, which will likely put “CSI: NY” into weekly rotation next fall, with daily episodes coming a few years later. King World has a similar arrangement in place with A&E for “CSI: Miami.”

The high price tag for “CSI: NY” comes even though the money is basically just moving from one part of a media giant to another. Spike TV, King World and CBS are all owned by Viacom. It also reflects the value of stand-alone crime shows in syndication – USA ponies up $1.5 million per episode of “Law & Order: SVU,” while TNT pays almost that much for reruns of “Without a Trace.”

“CSI: NY,” which stars Gary Sinise and Melina Kanakaredes, is the No. 3 new series of the season, behind ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost.” It draws an average of 16.4 million viewers per week.

ELECTRA JOINS FOX FAMILY

Carmen Electra could be headed for her first starring role in a sitcom, thanks in part to Ashton Kutcher.

Electra, currently hosting Bravo’s male-model search “Manhunt,” has signed a talent deal with 20th Century Fox TV. As part of the deal, she’ll star in a comedy pilot for the studio’s News Corp. sibling, FOX, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“That ‘70s Show” star Kutcher will serve as one of the project’s executive producers, along with Pete Aronson (“The Bernie Mac Show”). Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson (“Not Another Teen Movie”) will write the pilot script, which finds Electra’s character marrying into a big Midwestern family.

Should the pilot not get picked up, the studio could then place Electra in one of its other shows.

Electra has hardly lacked for work of late. In addition to “Manhunt,” the one-time “Baywatch” star has recently appeared in the feature films “Starsky & Hutch” and “My Boss’s Daughter” (which starred Kutcher), starred in an MTV reality series with her husband, Dave Navarro, and logged guest appearances on “Monk,” “Method & Red” and “The Mountain.” She’s also set to do a multi-episode arc on “Summerland” when the show returns to The WB early next year.

ABC ORDERS UP A SIX-PACK OF LOVE

ABC is close to nabbing six episodes of an untitled comedy starring Jennifer Love Hewitt for a midseason order.

The series, at one point called “In the Game,” stars the “Party of Five” veteran as a sports producer who becomes an on-camera sports TV personality. Ed O’Neill co-stars. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series comes from ABC-friendly Touchstone TV and Handprint Entertainment.

The project, which comes from “Freaks & Geeks” producers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, was originally conceived for a fall slot and was believe to be one of ABC’s top comedy candidates. By the early summer, Hewitt told Zap2it that the show was in flux, though the producers were attempting to keep it alive.

“This is particularly something that I wanted to do,” Hewitt said, while promoting the immortal feature “Garfield.” “It was an idea I had, something I created with these great writers, a part I really wanted to play, something that I thought would be enjoyed by many different types of people.”

In addition to her run as Sarah Reeves on “Party of Five,” Hewitt starred in that show’s short-lived spin-off “Time of Your Life” The “I Know What You Did Last Summer” thespian can next be seen in NBC’s upcoming adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.”

The Hewitt comedy joins an untitled comedy from John Stamos on ABC’s midseason roster. The network also has the dramas “Eyes,” “Blind Justice” and “Grey’s Anatomy” ready to go forward whenever the need should arise.


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