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Fox picks up ‘Mindy Project,’ ‘Ben and Kate’ for full seasons

Mindy Kaling in “The Mindy Project.” (Beth Dubber/Fox)

On the eve of both new comedies’ third-episode broadcast, Fox announced that it had picked up the “back nine” episodes of “Ben and Kate” and “The Mindy Project.”

NBC couldn’t be happier.

NBC Universal produces “The Mindy Project” which had been developed for NBC. But that network took a pass and then the company sold it to Fox (whose programming chief used to run NBC back in the days when it was launching “The Office” on which “Mindy Project” star Mindy Kaling, was cast as a writer and character).

NBC returned the favor last week when it renewed its Ryan Murphy comedy, “The New Normal,” which is produced by 20th Century Fox TV – the in-house production division of Fox network parent, News Corp.

It was one of two new comedies that NBC picked up last week; the other was the new NBC Universal-produced comedy “Go On,” starring Matthew Perry.

In Kaling’s new NBC-produced comedy for Fox network — which Fox was quick to note Monday is the No. 1 new comedy of the season among 18- to 34-year-olds — she plays an Ob/Gyn trying to balance her personal and professional life (neither well).

Meanwhile, “Ben and Kate” is produced at 20th Century Fox TV. It stars Dakota Johnson (daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith) and Oscar-winning “The Descendants” co-writer Nat Faxon as odd-couple siblings. She’s a responsible single mom, he’s an exuberant dreamer. Hilarity ensues.

The “back nine” are the additional episodes needed to give each series a full-season order.

Nat Faxon, as Ben, right, and Dakota Johnson, as Kate, in a scene from "Ben and Kate.” (Jennifer Clasen/AP)

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