FOX Locks Down 'Prison Break' for Next Year

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The convicts of "Prison Break" are having their time extended -- and in the world of television, that's a good thing.

FOX has picked up the buzzworthy series for next year, meaning fans will probably get to see the event of the title actually happen. The decision isn't a big surprise, as "Prison Break" earned solid ratings in the fall and has improved on that performance since its return earlier this month.

The bump in ratings has come after a long hiatus in which viewers were left hanging as to the outcome of Michael Scofield's (Wentworth Miller) initial attempt to break out his death-row inmate brother (Dominic Purcell). Because of FOX's heavy midseason slate, led by "American Idol" and "24," the network had to leave "Prison Break" on the shelf for nearly four months.

Both episodes since its return have drawn more than 10 million viewers, an improvement on the show's season average of 9.38 million. "Prison Break" is also averaging a fairly healthy 4.4 rating among adults 18-49 since its return, a big improvement over FOX's season average for Mondays at 8.

Creator Paul Scheuring and several cast members have implied that the escape will, in fact, happen by the end of this season, with season two focusing on the convicts' efforts to remain free and, for Michael and Lincoln, to expose the conspiracy that framed him for killing the vice president's (Patricia Wettig) brother.

The pickup also puts the network's drama roster in fairly good shape for next season. "House," "24" and "Bones" have already earned spots on the 2006-07 schedule; a decision has yet to be made on a fourth year for "The O.C."

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