TV Critics Tour: FX Orders Final Episodes of ‘Nip/Tuck;’ Greenlights Comedy ‘Testees’

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Beverly Hills, Calif.—FX, which made its name with cutting-edge dramas, has ordered additional episodes of Nip/Tuck and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, as well as greenlighting a new comedy called Testees, network officials said Tuesday.

FX delivered a rash of programming and casting announcements during its three-hour session at the Television Critics Association summer tour here, saying that Nip/Tuck will be ending its run in 2011. The network also presented panels on Damages, the last season of The Shield and a new drama about a motorcycle club, Sons of Anarchy.

The basic cable network has just finished production of the final eight episodes of the 22-episode season five of Nip/Tuck, a hit drama about randy plastic surgeons, and has ordered another 19 installments, FX president and general manager John Landgraf (pictured) said during his executive session at the press tour.

“These will be the final episodes of Nip/Tuck,” he said.

The drama will complete its run on FX in early 2011, ending with 100 episodes in the can, according to Landgraf. That makes the drama ripe for syndication.

The eight Nip/Tuck episodes that wrap up season five will debut in January.

Also on the original-programming front, FX has ordered 39 more episodes of the comedy Sunny, in addition to the 13 episodes that are already in production, according to Landgraf. That means there are 52 new original installments of Sunny coming—adding to the 32 episodes that have aired to date, Landgaf said. The fourth season debuts Sept. 18.

As a companion to Sunny, FX has ordered 13 episodes of the scripted comedy Testees, which is about two friends who earn a living as “medical guinea pigs.” It’s from South Park writer Kenny Hotz. The comedy series debuts Oct. 9.

FX also made several casting announcements at the TCA. Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden is now part of the cast for the second season of Damages, joining Bill Hurt and Timothy Olyphant as new ensemble members for the series. Ted Danson, who portrayed Arthur Frobisher in the first season of Damages, will also be returning for the second season, which debuts in January.

In other casting news, Michael J. Fox will be doing a four-episode guest stint on Rescue Me, as the new boyfriend of Tommy Gavin’s estranged wife Janet, according to Landgraf. Fox’s character on the show will be wheelchair bound. There are 22 new episodes of Rescue Me, a drama about post 9/11 New York City firefighters,now in production. They will premiere next spring.

During FX’s TCA session, Landgraf credited FX with pioneering the way—staring out with The Shield—for basic cable to venture into doing original scripted dramas, such as TNT with The Closer and USA Network with Monk and AMC with Mad Men.

But under press questioning, Landgraf conceded that this has resulted in FX facing a more competitive landscape in terms of scripted shows.

“I think it’s harder for everyone…there’s just more competition,” he said. “But one thing that FX has done really well is we really haven’t rested on our laurels. We really continue to take risks.”

Landgraf added that while FX is a general entertainment network on the one hand, its “creative competitors” are HBO, Showtime and most recently AMC.

Sons of Anarchy—which features Katey Sagal, Hellboy II: The Golden Army star Ron Perlman and Mad Men’s Maggie Siff—premieres Sept. 3. The actors were part of FX’s TCA session.

Sons of Anarchy premieres a day after the first episode of the seventh—and final—season of The Shield debuts, in early September.

During the panel on The Shield, executive producer Shawn Ryan and Emmy-winning star Michael Chiklis, appearing by satellite, were asked about the show’s finale and whether rogue cop Vic Mackey finally gets his comeuppance.

“Shawn did a tremendous job this finale. What thrills me about the finale is you will not see this coming,” Chiklis said.

Ryan wouldn’t comment on whether the finale turns out to be a comedy or a tragedy, just telling writers, “the finale for me feels right.”

At the TCA session, Landgraf was also asked if FX had made a decision about renewing The Riches. He said none had been made yet.

“It is always of question of do you hold onto the past or sprint into the future?” Landgraf said.

Drea de Matteo, an alum of The Sopranos, was in the Sons of Anarchy pilot and will return for at least two more episodes, Landgraf said. And Jay Karnes, a veteran of The Shield, will be in a half-dozen episodes of Sons of Anarchy.

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