Life of 'Brian' Extended

ABC's "What About Brian" ended its season last week after five episodes and one heated argument between star-crossed possible soulmates Brian (Barry Watson) and Marjorie (Sarah Lancaster).

A lot of observers of the TV business figured they'd never see the fight resolved, given the show's modest ratings performance in its brief run. In a bit of surprise, though, ABC announced Tuesday that "Brian" will return to the network for the 2006-07 season.

"We really felt like it was something we wanted to stick with," ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson says. "You want to be patient with things you believe in."

The show's overall ratings this spring were far from stellar. After debuting to about 12.8 million viewers on a Sunday following "Desperate Housewives," it averaged just 6.3 million viewers in four airings on Monday nights. McPherson says it did do well, though, among the young women who make up the core of ABC's audience. He also thinks that with "The Bachelor" as a lead-in next fall, "Brian" has a chance to grow.

"I don't think it's a show that explodes out of the box," McPherson says. "I think it's a show that takes time."

That extra time could also allow "Lost" mastermind J.J. Abrams, an executive producer of "What About Brian," to become a little more hands-on with the show. "J.J.'s involvement is a big thing for us," McPherson says. "He really has a way of bringing those characters to life."

We should note, though, that Abrams will still be a rather busy man in the fall, even if he is free from his duties on "Mission: Impossible III." With the new drama "Six Degrees" joining "Lost" and "Brian," he'll have three series on ABC next season.

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