LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Next year, Showtime's "The Tudors" will run out of wives.
The network has renewed the historical melodrama starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers for a fourth and final season. The pickup consists of 10 episodes that Showtime says will dramatize King Henry VIII's last two tumultuous marriages, to Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr.
The new episodes will continue the show's quickened matrimonial pace, covering the stories of two wives per season, a narrative strategy that was planned from the series' outset.
The final season, which will air in spring 2010, will be written by series creator Michael Hirst, who is single-handedly writing all 38 episodes of the saga. Ending "Tudors" frees him to work on a Camelot project he's developing for the network.
With Showtime recently rejecting several other potential series, including an "L-Word" spinoff, there's likely to be a slot or two available.
The third season of "Tudors" recently debuted to steady, strong ratings. Given the show's historical nature, the series was never seen as a program that could run indefinitely. The question was only whether "Tudors" would receive healthy enough numbers to finish at its own pace.
Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters