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Report: One Tree Hill renewed for shortened ninth season?

One Tree Hill may have been left off of The CW’s recent early renewal announcement — see here if you missed it — but Michael Ausiello of TVLine reports that the show has indeed been renewed…but for a shortened ninth season:

Question: I’ve heard there are two endings for the One Tree Hill finale — one to be used as a season finale and one for a series finale. Does that mean we will find out if it has been renewed for a ninth season before the finale airs? —Erin

Ausiello: You’re actually going to find out right now: The show is returning next season for roughly 13 episodes. I’m willing to bet all of my Super Smurfs on it. As a result, I assume they’ll go with the season finale airing May 17.

It should be noted that while One Tree Hill is near the bottom of the pack with regards to average viewership on the network — the current season average is 1.814M viewers — the show actually ranks as the network’s third-highest series rated among the key demographic of Women 18-34. (Its 1.7 rating in that demo ranks below only “The Vampire Diaries” at a 2.2 and “Gossip Girl” at a 2.0).