Two episodes into Kingdom‘s 10-episode freshman run, DirecTV’s MMA drama has received a pickup for 20 more episodes. The series, from creator/showrunner Byron Balasco and Endemol Studios, is scheduled to begin production on the new order in the spring, with the first 10 episodes airing on DirecTV’s Audience Network in fall 2015, and the following 10 slated for 2016. Kingdom, a gritty family drama set against the backdrop of the renegade subculture of Mixed Martial Arts in Venice, CA, has launched to strong reviews. DirecTV does not disclose ratings information but said that the rookie “has proven to be one of Audience Network’s most popular shows of all time.”
Returning for the next batch of 20 episodes of the series, which has been praised by local officials for filming in Los Angeles (it shoots in Venice where the show is set) are stars Frank Grillo, Kiele Sanchez, Matt Lauria, Jonathan Tucker, Nick Jonas and Joanna Going. “DirecTV could not be more thrilled by the response that last week’s premiere of Kingdom elicited from both critics and our viewers,” said Chris Long, DirecTV’s SVP Original Content and Production. “The series very clearly resonated with DirecTV’s subscribers.”
The pickup comes on the heels of Endemol Studios recently signing an overall deal with Balasco, the company’s first overall pact. “Getting an additional twenty episodes is a great testament to Kingdom, to Byron’s talent as a writer and show runner and to our cast and crew,” said Philippe Maigret, CEO, Endemol Studios.
This marks DirecTV’s second 20-episode renewal this season. The satcaster also recently ordered 20 additional episodes of its first homegrown original series, drama Rogue. The Kingdom pickup comes as Endemol Studios also is awaiting a renewal for its drama Hell On Wheels, which is pending at AMC.