Just three weeks into its freshman run, TNT has renewed the alien apocalypse series Falling Skies for a second season.
The Turner network will bring Falling Skies back for 10 episodes in summer 2012. Shooting will begin in Toronto before the end of the summer.
Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Falling Skies bowed on June 19 to 5.91 million viewers, making it the year’s most-watched cable series launch. The two-hour opener also put up big demos, averaging 2.64 million viewers 18-49 and 3.24 million adults 25-54.
The show dropped 29 percent in its second installment, averaging 4.2 million viewers. That said, when three days of time-shifted viewing were added to the original delivery, the June 26 episode experienced a negligible decline, averaging 5.69 million viewers.
The most recent episode of Skies, which aired in the thick of Independence Day weekend, served up 4.07 million viewers, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data.
With a budget of around $2.5 million per episode, Falling Skies was almost guaranteed an early renewal out of the gate. While it may seem counterintuitive, big-budget shows tend to get picked up shortly after their premieres; HBO recently renewed the pricey Game of Thrones after a single airing, reprising a strategy it explored last fall with Boardwalk Empire.
Season 1 of Falling Skies wraps on Aug. 7 with a two-hour finale.
Heralding the show as “a true standout,” Michael Wright, head of programming for TNT, TBS, and Turner Classic Movies, said his team is “look[ing] forward to seeing where this fascinating and exciting series takes us next.”