The comedy series "Cougar Town," starring Courteney Cox, has been renewed for a fourth season, but it won't air on the ABC network.
The show is moving to the cable channel TBS, which commands a smaller audience, following weeks of speculation. Ratings for the current third season have been lower than previous years. "Cougar Town" was conspicuously missing from ABC's 2012 midseason lineup when the network debuted it in November 2011, leading many fans to worry that it had been canceled. It eventually returned for season 3 in February.
The fourth season will begin airing on TBS in early 2012, the cable network said in a statement to OnTheRedCarpet.com on Thursday, May 10, adding that the channel also obtained the rights to air reruns of the first three seasons.
"We cannot thank you all enough for your support," Cox Tweeted in response to the show's renewal and channel move. "Seriously, guys. THANK YOU."
"Cougar Town" debuted in 2009 and was created by Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel. Cox plays a wine-loving Florida real estate agent and the show follows her relationship with her neighbors, son, ex-husband and co-workers. Josh Hopkins, who plays her character's love interest, said on his Twitter page in response to the renewal news: "We are excited more times than Tim Tebow."
The actor is also set to guest star on another new TBS comedy series called "Men At Work," which premieres on May 24, according to TVLine.
"Cougar Town" airs on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET, at the same time as FOX's hit show "Glee," CBS' "NCIS" and NBC's popular weight loss series "The Biggest Loser." Tuesday's episode of "Cougar Town" earned a 1.5 rating among adults aged 18 to 49 and was watched by an estimated 4.6 million people, marking a small increase from the week before.
According to Deadline, producers had been talking to TBS about a two-season pickup if ABC had decided to pull the plug on the show. Busy Philipps, who plays a friend of Cox's character, had talked about the future of the series with E! Online earlier this week.
"It has not been fun to feel like the ugly stepsister of the network," she said. They moved us around, they took us off the air for months. I do feel a little disappointed in how they've treated the show. If TBS is willing to launch the show in a real great way and we would actually have like billboards and commercials, that would be really cool."
Philipps said she was "really excited about the possibility" of switching networks, adding: "I feel like if it really happens it's kind of going to be like best case scenario for all of us."
TBS, whose motto is "very funny," is also home to shows such as Conan O'Brien's talk show, "Conan," and airs episodes of other shows in syndication, such as the CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" and the FOX animated series "Family Guy," which was recently renewed for an 11th season, according to Deadline.