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Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 08:02 GMT 09:02 UK
Hit Joey show wins extra episodes
Matt LeBlanc
Matt LeBlanc's character Joey tries to make it big as an actor
Friends spin-off sitcom Joey is to run for at least nine more episodes after becoming the US's top-rated new comedy.

Television channel NBC said it was the first new sitcom in prime-time to be given a full-season order.

Starring Matt LeBlanc as dim-witted actor Joey Tribbiani, the show has averaged 16.4 million viewers for its first three episodes.

It made its debut in the Thursday night slot previously filled by Friends - which ended in May after a 10-year run.

The series co-stars Drea de Matteo, who won an Emmy award for her role in The Sopranos, as Joey's hairstylist sister Gina.

It follows Joey's life as an aspiring actor as he tries to make it big in Los Angeles.

NBC said an estimated 18.6 million people in the US had tuned in to watch the debut episode of Joey.

But its ratings are lower than those for any episode of Friends in its last season.

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