ABC Renews `Twin Peaks' Despite Ratings Drop

NEW YORK - ABC announced today it has renewed David Lynch's surreal, quirky ``Twin Peaks'' for next season, even though the series has slid sharply in the ratings and had its lowest Nielsens to date on Thursday.

Whether ABC would pick up David Lynch's continuing saga of sex, murder and jelly doughnuts set in a small Pacific Northwest logging town had caused some suspense - but not as much as who killed homecoming queen Laura Palmer. The resolution of the murder is expected to come this week.

The series has been shown on Thursdays, but the final episode was moved to Wednesday to add its numbers to those ABC will get for the May ratings ``sweeps,'' which end Wednesday night.

The two-hour premiere of ``Twin Peaks'' on April 8 got the highest ratings of any two-hour movie aired last season, according to ABC. But the show steadily lost viewers during the next six episodes that ABC aired opposite NBC's top-rated ``Cheers.''

ABC officials weren't immediately available to discuss why they renewed the show. But industry observers said the network likely would pick up the series because it is attracting a female audience desirable to advertisers and it eventually might get a larger general audience.