NBC says more Earl and Office next season!

Today has been a Monday if there ever was one, but I’ve got some good news:

My world was rocked in the best kind of way a couple of weeks ago when it was revealed that NBC was considering bumping The Office up to an hour next season. The show will be leaving its 8:30 p.m. home on the Thursday night schedule to take over the much more competitive 9 p.m. slot.

As reported by TV Guide, NBC has released its fall schedule. You can view it right here, and all of your questions will be answered.

The first season of The Office was six episodes. Season Two had 22, and the current third season will total 23. (Don’t forget the season finale this Thursday!)

Season Four, however, will be a whopping 30 episodes! It looks like we’re getting 25 half-hour episodes and five hour-long episodes. That sounds like a worthy compromise, don’t you think?

I also hope they use that extra time to focus a bit more on the show’s supporting cast. You know those other actors would love the extra screen time, and they most certainly deserve it.

My Name Is Earl will also see an increase to 25 episodes ordered for next season.

And that’s not all! NBC is also debuting a new Bionic Woman series.

The original Bionic Woman was played by Lindsay Wagner, who, in the late ’70s, was a member of my exclusive Television Ladies I Had Big Crushes On Before I Even Knew What Big Crushes Were club. (Other members included Stefanie Powers from Hart to Hart, Pam Dawber from Mork & Mindy and the queen of them all, Lynda Carter from Wonder Woman.)

The new Bionic Woman — whose character is still named Jamie Sommers — will be played by Michelle Ryan. There are some photos of her in character right here.

Dark hair. Blue eyes. Lips.

Yes! I’m sold.

Here’s how NBC describes the show:

BIONIC WOMAN — Struggling as a bartender and surrogate mom to her teenage sister, Jaime Sommers (Michelle Ryan, EastEnders) didn’t think life could get much harder. But when a devastating car accident leaves her at death’s door, Jaime’s only hope for survival is a cutting-edge, top-secret technology that comes at a hefty price. With a whole new existence and a debt to re-pay, Jaime must figure out how to use her extraordinary abilities for good, while weighing the personal sacrifices she will have to make. Ultimately, it’s Jaime’s journey of self-discovery and inner strength that will help her embrace her new life as the Bionic Woman. Also starring are: Mae Whitman (State of Grace) as Becca, Jaime’s younger sister; Miguel Ferrer (Crossing Jordan) as Jonas, the man who employs Jaime’s boyfriend; Chris Bowers (Rescue Me) as Will, Jaime’s boyfriend, who performs the operation; Will Yun Lee (Witchblade) as Jae, the specialized operations leader; and Molly Price (Third Watch), as Ruth, Jonas’ second-in-command.

Mae Whitman plays her sister! I love Mae Whitman. She played Plant, I mean Egg, I mean Plain, I mean Ann, on Arrested Development. (I’ve always thought she was very lovely, even though her character on Arrested Development wasn’t necessarily supposed to be.)

It all sounds great except for the unfortunately hilarious part about how it’s her boyfriend who performs her bionic surgery.


It’s bad enough they’re giving the Bionic Woman a tool of a boyfriend — I will guarantee you right now that this guy is no Lee Majors — but it seems even sillier that he’s the one who performs her operation.

Oh, well.

One of the producers is David Eick from Battlestar Galactica, which is one of the better shows on TV right now. So I’ll definitely give it a shot. Furthering the Galactica connection, it looks like the show’s villain will be played by the spectacularly talented Katee “Starbuck” Sackhoff! I like this show already.

Anyway, the best news here is that The Office will have 30 episodes next season, and five of those will be an hour long. Bring it on. I’ll gladly spend as much time in Scranton as they’ll let me.

(And I also owe several of you out there many comments and emails. I’m tragically behind at the moment, but I’ll get there! Thanks for your patience.)