HBO Renews Comedies


Home Box Office is bringing comedies Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm  back for new seasons next year.

Entourage, which debuted last Sunday and has been well-received by critics, will return sometime in 2005, and CYE will be back with 10 new episodes in January 2005. HBO’s cop drama, The Wire, will be back for its third season Sept. 19.

Entourage “is a terrific new show with a lot of possibilities. I think it will prove to be the next big comedy for HBO,” says HBO Chairman Chris Albrecht. He fielded questions about Entourage and other shows at a Television Critics Association presentation Thursday in Los Angeles.

He deflected criticism over last Sunday’s graphic episode. “I thought the episode was extraordinarily compelling and a departure,” Albrecht said. “I like when there is a surprise.” He added that the pay network wants to bring Six Feet Under back for more seasons.

As for HBO’s biggest star, The Sopranos, Albrecht said the show’s sixth season will debut sometime in 2006. It is possible, he said, there could be 13 episodes rather than the 10 that creator David Chase had said would comprise the final season.

Debate continues in Washington over indecency standards on television, but Albrecht is confident of the role of HBO, which as a cable network is not subject to the FCC's indecency regimen, and arguably as a pay net even less so than basic. "We are invited guests into peoples home. There are a lot of threshholds consumer needs to cross before they even have HBO in their home.," he said.

Although HBO is free to push the envelope, he says, that's not why people buy the service. "I don’t think anybody buys HBO because they are interested in hearing things or seeing things, ie nudity, that they can’t see on broadcast," he said, "There are easier ways to satisfy those needs."