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HBO Renews "True Blood," "Hung," and "Entourage," Others Still Up in the Air

HBO's Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo took to the stage yesterday at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Pasadena that HBO had locked in its entire current Sunday night lineup for additional seasons next summer.

The pay cabler has officially renewed True Blood for a third season, Hung for a second season, and Entourage for a staggering seventh season. All will return to the lineup next summer rather than premiering earlier.

"True Blood, Hung, and Entourage will all be coming back next summer and we're very excited about it." Lombardo told the press. "So stay tuned for next June."

The duo, in an executive session at the aforementioned TCA panel, also relayed information about HBO's other crop of series and whether we could expect to see them return or not, with the fate of several series still very much up in the air.

Curb Your Enthusiasm returns September 20th with a new series and will be slotted together with new comedy Bored to Death, starring Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, and Zach Galifianakis, which will launch on the same night.

Lombardo wouldn't give any details about Evan Rachel Woods' appearance in Season Two/Season Three of True Blood. "Alan Ball would kill me," he said emphatically.

As expected, Big Love will be back in January. HBO expresses their disappointment that Big Love's talented cast didn't net Emmy nods for the truly amazing third season. (Editor: personally, I agree with them completely. Egregious error.)

Also on the subject of the Emmys, which announced yesterday that they would cut eight categories--including movie and miniseries awards--from the live telecast and instead film them separately and air edited versions of the winners' acceptance speechs, Plepler shot back at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. "For an awards show that seems to celebrate TV," said Plepler, "it seems odd that you would minimize categories that have huge viewership."

Flight of the Conchords isn't quite as dead as it appeared a few months back, with Plepler and Lombardo stating that the future of the series was squarely in the hands of Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie. "When they are ready, we're ready," said Plepler about a potential third season of Flight of the Conchords. "The challenge is of course they're not only writing a television show but 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."

Things are looking less certain for a second season of the critically acclaimed drama series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which HBO co-produces with the BBC. "We're actually in conversations now and try to figure out the next step on that show," said Lombardo. "That show has been a challenge creatively as you know because the creative vision behind that show, Anthony Minghella, unfortunately passed away after the pilot was done." Fingers crossed that they can reach an agreement to bring Jill Scott's Precious Ramotswe back for a sophomore season...

And things are still very uncertain for a third season of In Treatment. "We're trying to put it together," said HBO. "It was adapted from an Israeli series, which had two seasons, so we would have to create new scripts from whole cloth but we're working to see whether that's possible." As for a final word on the series' fate, the duo said: "Gabriel is very interesting in doing it again so stay tuned."

Meanwhile, Little Britain USA is dead. But HBO said that they are in talks with creators/stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams about doing a series of specials featuring new characters and new situations. But don't hold your breath for these; at the very earliest the first special would air on HBO at the end of 2010 or shortly thereafter.

Fellow comedy Eastbound and Down, however, will return for a second season next year. The series "found young, passionate audience... There was no way we weren't bringing it back." Season Two of Eastbound will shoot at the end of winter or beginning of spring next year.

And animated comedy The Life and Times of Tim will return, with season two of the Media Rights Capital-produced series kicking off in the next few months. Ideally, Tim would be paired with the untitled animated Ricky Gervais comedy series--based on the podcast Gervais does with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington--but the latter likely won't make it on the air until next year.

As for new product, HBO said that the plan is to launch David Simon's newest series the post-Katrina New Orleans-set Treme, in April, trailing out of the end of its WWII mini-series The Pacific.

And HBO is anxiously awaiting a cut of its period drama Boardwalk Empire from executive producer Martin Scorsese and writer Terence Winter. Expectations are that once they see a cut of the pilot, HBO can order it to series and go back into production in September. "From everything we've seen it's fantastic, it's big, and it's everything we'd hoped it'd be," said Plepler.

Finally, HBO proved themselves magnanimous in success. Former HBO topper Chris Albrecht, now an independent producer, "should go where the work is and if he has something for" HBO, they are happy to take the pitch, said Plepler.


Fonda said…
I'm going to be really disappointed if Ladies' Detective Agency doesn't return. It was lovely and fun and really had a unique voice. And the cast was superb! I hope they can find a way to bring it back.
AskRachel said…
How lame that they're cutting movie and miniseries awards from the main Emmy telecast. TV movies and miniseries have evolved so much in the last few years and between HBO and PBS' Masterpiece there have been some really brilliant projects that deserve more credit than this.
Anonymous said…
I wish someone had asked about the Sarah Michelle Gellar show The Wonderful Maladys. It's been months since there was any news.
Charles said…
I can't beleive that Hung is being renewed. I'm still bitter about The Comeback and Unscripted.

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