HBO renews "Hung," "True Blood," "Entourage"

Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:56pm EDT
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By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - HBO announced the renewal of its entire summer lineup of original programing, ordering another round of freshman comedy "Hung," veteran comedy "Entourage" and hit vampire drama "True Blood."

Network executives addressing the critics at the Television Critics Association's semiannual press tour said "Hung" will get a second season, "True Blood" a third and "Entourage" a seventh. The new seasons will debut in 2010, with "Blood" planned for summer.

The freshly formed Sunday-night lineup has given HBO two consecutive hours of hit programing for the first time in years. "True Blood" in particular has managed to increase its audience with nearly every episode, giving the network its most-watched show since "The Sopranos."

"True Blood" has averaged 3.8 million viewers (11.2 when you add repeats, DVR and On Demand viewing), "Hung" has averaged 3.1 million (10.2 million total) and "Entourage" brings in about 3.0 million (7.4 million total).

Programing head Michael Lombardo and co-president Richard Plepler also dropped hints about the fates and air dates of other HBO programing during the network's executive session.

Next year HBO intends to air "Big Love" in January and roll out its highly anticipated World War II miniseries "The Pacific" in March. The war epic eventually will serve as lead-in for "Treme," the New Orleans drama from "The Wire" creator David Simon.

Emmy-nominated "Flight of the Conchords" also likely will return; executives made the prospect of a third season sound probable.

"When they're ready, we're ready," Plepler said of the show's musical comedy duo, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement. "They have the added challenge of writing an album ... we're waiting for them to tell us they're ready."   Continued...

<p>Cast member Anne Heche attends a panel discussion for the new HBO television series "Hung" at the Television Critics Association Cable summer press tour in Pasadena, California July 30, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>