'Monk' Starts Pursuing Final Cases In Summer 2009

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Tony Shaloub will play Adrian Monk for the "characters" network for one more season.

USA Network has picked up Monk for an eighth and final season, with a 16-installment order from Universal Cable Productions.

The final season of the series, starring the Emmy- (three), Golden Globe- and SAG- (two) winning Shaloub in the title role, will debut next summer, announced Jeff Wachtel, executive vice president, original programming, USA Network and co-head, original content, Universal Cable Productions.

"We want to build to a spectacular conclusion for this wonderful show.  By many measures, Monk is the most successful series in the history of basic cable television -- and it was certainly the original tentpole of our 'Character' brand," said Wachtel in a statement. "Our fans have been extremely dedicated and season eight should prove to be a very satisfying reward."

The series, which revolves around Shaloub’s obsessive-compulsive detective, enjoyed its top season last year. Debuting in 2002, Monk averaged 13% more 18-to-49 viewers, 9% more adults 25 to 54, 30% more 18-to-34 viewers and 20 more total viewers in 2008 than the series averaged through 2007. Through 2008, the series averaged an audience of 2 million persons 18 to 49, 2.5 million adults 25-54 and 5 million total viewers.

The Feb. 22 show was its most-watched episode ever with 7.55 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, live + seven-day data.

Monk's comical crime-solving techniques stem from the unsolved murder of his wife, as the detective developed an abnormal fear of germs, heights, crowds and virtually everything else, not to mention his day-to-day existence.