HBO announced Thursday it will produce eight additional episodes of The Sopranos that will air in January 2007.
The mob drama is currently shooting 12 episodes for its upcoming sixth season, which will debut in March 2006.
"When something is as remarkable as The Sopranos, our audience would like to see it continue as long as possible,” said Chris Albrecht, HBO Chairman and CEO, “so we are thrilled that David Chase felt there are more stories to be told."
The cast's contract negotiations for additional episodes could be an issue. In 2003, star James Gandolfini battled with the network over a deal for the fifth season. HBO does not publicly discuss specific contracts, but a spokesman said HBO is confident that the cast will be comfortable finishing the full 20 episodes.
In May, series creator David Chase hinted to a crowd at a Newhouse School of Public Communications event that more Sopranos might be in the works.
Chase said that he could extend the show without having to alter the sixth season, which had already been charted.