UPDATED: As expected, FX has renewed its sophomore drama Justified for a third season. The pickup  for the Sony Pictures TV-produced series comes just in time for FX’s upfront party tonight in New York, where the cast of the neo-Western crime drama starring Timothy Olyphant is slated to appear, along with actors from the other FX series. Also expected to get a renewal momentarily is FX’s animated comedy series Archer.

FX brass have been very happy with Justified’s performance. Despite hitting a season low in 18-49 last week, the series is running way ahead of Season 1 as it has emerged as a big DVR gainer, getting a 55%-60% ratings bump from time-shifted viewing. Season-to-date, the drama has averaged 4 million viewers in Live Plus 7 for its original Wednesday 10 PM telecasts. That is up 16% from Season 1. In 18-49, the average is 2.1 million, up 16%. With multiple plays included, each episode of Justified draws 7.4 million total viewers this season, up 9% from Season 1 and close to the cumulative viewership for FX’s flagship drama Sons of Anarchy. The average total 18-49 audience for each episode is 3.8 million, up 10%. Here is FX’s release:

LOS ANGELES, March 29, 2011 – The FX drama series Justified is enjoying one of the most critically acclaimed seasons of any show on television this year and today the network has ordered another season of the hit series, picking up a 13-episode third season.  Six all new episodes remain in season two, with the second season finale airing May 4.

Justified was a critically acclaimed hit series in its first season, but the show has far surpassed our expectations this season,” said FX president John Landgraf.  “Creatively, the show is on a roll.”

Developed for television by Graham Yost and starring Timothy Olyphant, Justified is based on the popular Elmore Leonard character “Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens” from his short story Fire in the Hole and some of his other novels.

Yost said, “I always say that the best review we’ve ever received on Justified is the fact that Elmore Leonard gets a kick out of the show.  I must add to that.  Now tied for the best feedback we’ve ever received is the news that a network as cool and original and supportive as FX is bringing us back for another year.”

“The show’s appeal speaks volumes to Graham’s fresh approach to storytelling,” said Jamie Erlicht, president of programming and production, Sony Pictures Television.

Through seven weeks, first-run episodes of Justified are averaging 3.9 million viewers (+15% vs. season 1) and 2.0 million Adults 18-49 (+18% vs. season 1).  The weekly multi-run average viewership for the season 2 is 7.2 million total viewers and 3.7 million Adults 18-49, respective gains of +6% in Total Viewers and +6% in Adults 18-49.

Yost wrote the pilot and serves as Executive Producer/Writer on the series. Leonard is an Executive Producer on the series along with Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Michael Dinner, and Olyphant is Producer. Justified is produced by FX Prods. and Sony Pictures Television.