Well at least I think they were brave decisions, and they were made by NBC. It's no secret that this hasn't exactly been a shining year for new shows in terms of ratings. This season saw a promising crop of newcomers in terms of quality but going up against known quantities most of the new shows did poorly (to say the least) in the ratings. NBC did their fair share of canceling good shows (Kidnapped anyone) but they made a couple of choices that other networks wouldn't have. Despite ratings that weren't the greatest they not only kept Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, Friday Night Lights and 30 Rock on the air but they renewed each of them for a full season.
Oh don't get me wrong, there were reasons for doing this that go beyond the altruistic. After all most network executives don't know the meaning of the word "altruism" or a lot of other words for that matter. For example, with Studio 60 they discovered that even though the show was and is getting blasted in the ratings by CSI: Miami, the network is actually making. The reason is that the audience that they are getting is particularly desirable in terms of buying power. In short the show may not be getting quantity but it is getting quality and advertisers are buying that.
30 Rock is a different story. I'm sure that one of the big reasons why the show is still around is that Lorne Michaels is one of the Executive Producers along with Tina Fey. And I'm willing to bet that the network doesn't want to tick off Mr. Michaels. Of course not even that is the major reason. 30 Rock was never a good fit with the show it was teamed with on Wednesday nights, the mercifully cancelled Twenty Good Years, and it was in a time slot along with Jericho (CBS), the Dancing With The Stars Results Show (ABC), Bones (Fox) and one of the few "hits" on the CW, America's Next Top Model. Now moved to Thursday nights opposite CSI and Gray's Anatomy, Supernatural and The O.C. it's still in a ratings hot seat, but it's a much better fit with the NBC Thursday comedy line-up of The Office, My Name Is Earl, and Scrubs. Besides, with this move NBC also reduces the over exposure that Deal Or No Deal was facing. That show is now down to one night a week.
The one show that I think may have been renewed entirely because it is good and has been ignored by most of the potential audience is Friday Night Lights. This is a good show that was being wasted in the first hour of Tuesday nights, up against several powerhouses from the other networks. It's now on in the first hour of Wednesday nights, but because of changes in the line-up of other networks it might have a better time of it than Twenty Good Years and 30 Rock had in the same time slot. Initially at least it won't be facing Jericho but a celeb-reality show called Armed And Famous on CBS and the "dynamic" duo of George Lopez and According To Jim on ABC. I think it has a better chance of surviving and maybe even thriving against those shows than it did on Tuesday nights. It deserves to survive - it is a great series.