CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- HBO is getting a jump on its 2005 schedule as the network has renewed its freshman drama "Deadwood" after just two weeks on the air.
5.8 million viewers tuned into the show's debut on March 21, making it the most-watched series premiere in HBO history. More importantly, 4.9 million stuck around for its second outing this past Sunday. Production is set to begin in July on another 12-episode season for a 2005 premiere.
New seasons of "Carnivale" and "The Sopranos" as well as the new drama "Rome" are also expected to bow in 2005.
The news was announced via press release this morning:
HBO AIMS FOR A NEW SEASON OF DEADWOOD
HBO has renewed the new western drama series DEADWOOD for a second season, it was announced today by Carolyn Strauss, president, HBO Entertainment. The show is scheduled to begin production of 12 new episodes this July, with debut set for 2005 on HBO.
"DEADWOOD is off to a terrific start, having already generated a strong positive response from subscribers and critics," noted Strauss. "I can't wait to see what David Milch has in store for the second season of this intriguing series."
"I'm grateful for this vote of confidence," said Milch. "That it comes early, and without qualification, is typical of the way HBO operates."
The launch of DEADWOOD sparked critical raves, with the New York Times observing that "its riffs of hard-boiled realism are bold," adding, "Once the story takes hold, it is hard to turn away." Giving the series a grade of A-, Entertainment Weekly noted that DEADWOOD "makes the West wilder than you've ever seen it," while the Hollywood Reporter describes the show as "always fascinating," hailing it for "a force and an intelligence that is most impressive."
"Deadwood" is produced by HBO in association with Red Board Productions and Paramount Network Television.