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HBO Renews ‘Entourage’

Jul 15, 2005  •  Post A Comment

HBO has renewed its Hollywood ensemble comedy “Entourage” for a third season, network Chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht announced Friday. Addressing reporters at the Television Critics Association’s semiannual press tour in Beverly Hills, Mr. Albrecht said the series will be renewed for “at least” 13 episodes.

“‘Entourage’ is everywhere,” Mr. Albrecht said. “The buzz out there is from audiences of every age group … this show gets better every week.”

Mr. Albrecht defended the network against recent media reports criticizing HBO’s sagging ratings and recent programming batting average.

“From a programming point of view … I feel we are in terrific shape,” he said. “It’s an absolute true statement that HBO is the most profitable network in the world. We certainly have run into the same Sunday night juggernaut as everybody else with ‘Desperate Housewives.’ … The people who have written and passed judgment on our network based on ratings between 9 and 10 o’clock on Sunday night maybe don’t have a real understanding of HBO’s business. What we’ve been able to do over the course of the last few years is mitigate our own strategy into taking advantage of all the platforms we have.”

Those platforms, he added, are venues such as making series more widely available through video-on-demand, multiple airings and DVD.

As for the future of the network’s most popular program, “The Sopranos,” Mr. Albrecht said creator David Chase has yet to decide whether the upcoming sixth season, which debuts in March, will be the end of the show.

“[Making the decision] is torture for David Chase,” he said. “I know David feels like he has more to tell than what he has for the next season.”

Mr. Albrecht said his recent decision to end another series, the dustbowl period drama “Carnival,” resulted in 50,000 negative e-mails from fans.

“Never have we been besieged more than the way we were besieged by ‘Carnival’ fans for canceling the show,” he said.