It was a tale of two comedies at Home Box Office last week. The premium channel pulled the plug on Lucky Louie, while, as expected, it renewed the Emmy Award-winning Entourage for a fourth season.
HBO ordered a 12-episode fourth season of the highly acclaimed Hollywood buddy series, which stars Adrian Grenier as movie star Vince Chase, whose Tinseltown crew includes his brother and two of their boys from Queens.
The show averaged 2.6 million viewers during its 12 Sunday-night premieres this past summer, according to Nielsen Media Research data, and 5.2 million watchers on a weekly cume basis. Those numbers were up from averages of 1.8 million and 4.9 million from its second season.
“Entourage is a standout hit for HBO,” said HBO Entertainment president Carolyn Strauss in a statement. “Thanks to a terrific cast and razor-sharp writing and directing, this smart, funny show has become a genuine phenomenon.”
Created by Doug Ellin, the show, which garnered five Emmy nominations and one trophy for outstanding supporting actor for Jeremy Piven’s portrayal of over-the-top agent Ari Gold, has debuted 34 episodes to date, with the final eight installments of the third season now expected to be twinned with the concluding run of mob hit The Sopranos next March.
An HBO spokesman said the fourth season of Entourage is “likely” to air in 2007.
The premium network won’t have to worry about figuring when or where to schedule comedian Louis CK’s show. The racy blue-collar family sitcom scored with few critics and viewers alike, averaging just 1.4 million viewers — albeit many young adult watchers — for its Sunday premieres this summer, leading out of Entourage.
“Louie is an incredible talent and a wonderful partner,” said HBO Entertainment president Carolyn Strauss. '’We loved trying our first multi-camera show with him, and we look forward to other projects with Louie in the future.’’
Elsewhere on the premium network watch, Showtime renewed Brotherhood, which revolves around two brothers, one a politician and one a gangster in Providence, R.I., for a 10-episode second season airing next year. The show, whose first season finale aired on Sept. 24 at 10 p.m., has not tallied many viewers, but been blessed with strong reviews.
Published reports place average viewership for Brotherhood at 241,000 for the Sunday night debuts, a figure that doesn’t include numbers for any of its encores, multiplex airings or on-demand orders.