[07/30/09 - 08:25 PM]
HBO Renews Current Trio, Gives Status of Upcoming Slate
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- HBO has renewed its current Sunday lineup of "True Blood," "Hung" and "Entourage."

The announcement was made by Richard Plepler (Co-President) and Michael Lombardo (President, Programming Group and West Coast Operations) during the network's executive session at the TCA on Thursday.

"'True Blood,' 'Hung' and 'Entourage' will all be coming back next summer," said Lombardo. "And we're very excited about it so stay tuned for next June." Plepler went on to credit "True Blood's" weekly cumulative audience of 11 million viewers (its Sunday premiere plus replays throughout the week) as the key factor in its renewal with "Hung" and "Entourage" averaging 10 and eight million, respectively.

The pair also gave status updates for its various properties:

-- On if we'll see more "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency": "We're actually in conversations now and try to figure out the next step on that show. That show has been a challenge creatively as you know because the creative vision behind that show unfortunately passed away, Anthony Minghella, after the pilot/movie was done."

-- On the status of "Little Britain USA": "'Little Britain USA' as that series is not coming back. What we are talking to them about in terms of Matt [Lucas] and David [Walliams] is coming back with some specials... their intent is to come back with a whole new cast of characters and a whole new approach to their television appearance. So yes they will be back on HBO, whether that's the end of next year or slightly thereafter I'm [not] sure at this point."

-- On when we'll see season two of "Eastbound and Down": "They'll be shooting it sometime at the end of next spring, end of next winter and we haven't figured out when next year it'll actually be on the air. But it will be back on next year."

-- On when David Simon's "Treme" will premiere: "The hope and expectation is it will be on the air next April... Right now the plan is, I think the current intention is "The Pacific" will premiere sometime in early March, mid-March and toward the end of its run we will introduce 'Treme.'"

-- On when a decision will be made about the Martin Scorsese pilot "Boardwalk Empire": "We are anxiously awaiting a cut from Mr. Scorsese so we can greenlight the series. We're set up to get going again in September but we're waiting to get a cut of the pilot. By everything we've seen it's fantastic, it's big, it's everything we'd hoped it'd be. It's a tremendous cast with a tremendous writer."

-- On the future of "Flight of the Conchords": "When they're ready, we're ready. The challenge is of course they're not only writing a television show but they have the added challenge of writing an album. So it's double the pressure but we're waiting and as soon as they tell us they're ready, we'd be thrilled."

-- On when we'll see the new season of "Big Love": "It'll be back in January."

-- On if season three of "In Treatment" is in the cards: "We're trying to put it together and as you know it was adapted from an Israeli series for which there were two seasons. And we would have to create whole cloth new scripts but we're working to see whether that's possible. Gabriel [Byrne]'s very interested in doing it again so stay tuned."

-- On the second season of "The Life & Times of Tim": "We are absolutely receiving episodes for the second season which are funnier even than the first. We haven't figured out where to schedule it. We have a couple of other shows we've recently ordered, I'm sure we announced it, an animated show from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and ideally we'd like to pair them - that won't come until later - but ['Tim'] will be on within the next few months."

-- On keeping "Real Time With Bill Maher" on year-round: "We would love to find a way to extend his season, give him more time... We're thinking about that all the time."

Meanwhile, the pay channel also confirmed the air dates for "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama" (November 3) and "Robin Williams: Weapons of Self-Destruction" (December 6)."

Lastly, Larry David offered up some teases about the upcoming season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." "For years I've been asked about a 'Seinfeld' reunion as has Jerry and the other cast members," said David about the fictional reunion which will serve as the story backbone for the show's seventh season. "We're going to see, we'll see writing, we'll see aspects of the read-throughs, parts of rehearsals, you'll see the show being filmed and you'll see it on TV.

What will you see? You won't see the entire show. You'll see parts of the show, you'll get an idea of what happened 11 years later. And within the show, it will be incorporated into regular 'Curb' episodes so the cast members will be playing themselves on 'Curb' while all this is going on." David adds that, "Jerry's on five shows I think. The others will be on at least four." "Curb" returns on September 20 at 9:00/8:00c alongside newcomer "Bored to Death."

  [july 2009]  


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