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Yesterday, THR columnist Ray Richmond interviewed beleaguered showrunner Aaron Sorkin and gave Studio 60 fans hope that their favorite, serious-minded weekly examination of the culture-salvaging possibilities of late-night sketch comedy shows is on the verge of a season-completing back nine episode order, news contrary to earlier reports (like this one, we imagine) that the series is teetering on the precipice of primetime oblivion. Blogged Richmond:

While not yet official, key industry sources are confident that NBC will, in the next few days, announce the show's pickup for its back nine episodes (giving it a full season complement of 22) in the wake of two consecutive Mondays of upwardly-trending numbers.

I chatted this morning with its producer and chief writer Aaron Sorkin, who thought that word of the show's fate could come as soon as today but likely not until week's end or — at latest — next Tuesday. It's thought that NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly was desperately searching for an excuse to renew "Studio 60" — any sign of life that would indicate even modest traction — and unofficial word is the show's performance over the past two Mondays has supplied it.

"I'd be very surprised at this point if the show weren't picked up (for the full season) in the next couple of days," noted one source who requested anonymity.

The current whispers we're hearing, however, insist that the cost-slashing NBC 2.0 and hit-starved president Kevin Reilly are desperately searching for a way to negotiate themselves out from under Sorkin's contract and shut down the production as quickly as they can cancel craft service. We suppose we won't know which set of rumor-mongerers are correct until the network is good and ready to place either a pick-up or cancellation announcement in the trades, but we're nonetheless going to gird ourselves for the eventuality that we may never get a chance to say a proper goodbye to Lobster Boy, Fundamentalist Girl, and the rest of the gang.