LOS ANGELES – "The West Wing" (search) has been re-elected to a seventh term by NBC (search). The White House drama will return for the 2005-06 season, NBC programming chief Kevin Reilly said Thursday. Dramas "Crossing Jordan" (search) and "Las Vegas" (search) and the sitcom "Joey" (search) also will be back.
The medical drama "ER," now in its 11th season, received a two-year pickup which, added to its current contract, will keep it on the air through the 2007-08 season, Reilly announced.
"Joey," the "Friends" spinoff starring Matt LeBlanc, will return for its second season despite lackluster ratings.
NBC is suffering overall, posting an unprecedented fourth-place finish in the February "sweep," a key ratings measurement period.
The big unknown for "The West Wing": who will follow President Josiah "Jeb" Bartlet (Martin Sheen) when his second term ends next season? Among the contenders: Republican Sen. Arnold Vinick, played by Alan Alda, and Rep. Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Vice President Robert Russell (Gary Cole), both Democrats.
Although the political drama's ratings have slipped, Reilly said it continues to draw the kind of affluent audience sponsors want.