Just hours after early ratings showed this week's "Castle" hitting new series highs in all major demos, ABC has renewed the Monday night drama for a third season.
"Castle," which stars Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, was considered a bubble renewal last spring after its first season. Airing after "The Bachelor" and "Dancing with the Stars" this season, the drama has shown increased retention from its lead-ins (leads-in?) in the Monday 10 p.m. slot.
Benefitting from an unexpectedly strong "Dancing with the Stars" premiere, plus a heavily arced two-parter, "Castle" has set series highs each of the past two weeks. Last week, "Castle" scored a rare victory over a new "CSI: Miami," while Monday's episode averaged nearly 14.5 million viewers in early estimates, adding a 3.7 demo rating.
The "Castle" renewal wasn't exactly a huge shock. ABC had already announced the release of "Naked Heat," sequel to the bestselling companion novel "Heat Wave," for a fall 2010 release. There wasn't going to be much logic to releasing a companion book to a cancelled series. 
In any case, there's no longer any doubt. "Castle" will be back on ABC next fall.
A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.