UPDATE: Here’s Mike White’s reaction to his series Enlightened getting a second-season renewal by HBO: “I know HBO has had to make some hard decisions. I feel very lucky that they are letting us make more Enlightened. We will do our best to make something cool.”
PREVIOUS: Those two Golden Globe nominations sure helped. HBO has just picked up the Mike White-Laura Dern comedy Enlightened for a second season, while canceling three other comedy series: Hung, Bored To Death and How To Make It In America. Enlightened drew critical praise but struggled mightily in the ratings on Mondays. However, ratings have never been the deciding factor in HBO’s renewal decisions as evident by the longevity of David Simon’s New Orleans drama Treme. The network was already leaning towards picking up Enightened for Season 2 when the dark comedy earned two Golden Globe nominations last week, for best comedy series and best actress in a comedy series, Dern. Hung and Bored To Death are ending their runs after three seasons, How To Make It In America after two. Of the four comedies that learned their fate today, Hung has been the highest-rated, and star Thomas Jane recently landed his second Golden Globe nomination for his role. But in the end that wasn’t enough.
This is quite the end-of-year house-cleaning on the comedy side at HBO, which had kept a slew of marginal performers around for a while. With Entourage done and Larry David yet to make up his mind whether to continue Curb Your Enthusiasm, Enlightened for now is HBO’s only returning comedy series next year along with Eastbound & Down, whose Season 3 kicks off in February. They will be joined by four new half-hour series: Armando Iannucci/Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Veep, Lena Dunham/Judd Apatow’s Girls, Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant’s Life’s Too Short, and Chris Lilley’s Angry Boys. HBO has two other comedies in the pipeline from auspices with strong track records at HBO — half-hour pilots 40, written by Entourage creator Doug Ellin and starring Ed Burns, and Viagra Diaries, penned by Sex And The City creator Darren Star and starring Goldie Hawn.