FX Says ‘Da’ to a Second Season of The Americans

Network renews Keri Russell spy drama

Four weeks into its primary run, FX’s ‘80s spy drama The Americans is getting its visa renewed for another season.

FX on Thursday confirmed that it has picked up the show for a 13-episode second season. In the meantime, nine new episodes remain in the current order, with the season finale slated for Wednesday, May 1. (That’s May Day to you, comrade.)

The Americans has quickly established itself as a key part of our acclaimed drama lineup,” said John Landgraf, president and gm of FX, by way of announcing the renewal. “The show is truly worthy of its widespread critical acclaim, and we are confident that its quality will continue to yield a robust and passionate audience.”

This is a particularly early renewal for an FX series, as Landgraf tends to hedge his bets on a yea or nay decision until he’s had a chance to analyze several weeks of Nielsen ratings data. But the available data arguably made a pickup a mere formality.

Executive produced by a collective that includes former CIA agent and author Joe Weisberg and Justified creator Graham Yost, The Americans bowed Jan. 31 to 3.22 million viewers and a 1.2 in the 18-49 demo. The premiere strafed the cable competition and topped ABC in the 10 p.m. time slot, as a repeat of Nashville delivered a 0.9 in the dollar demo.

Because FX guarantees against a four-run cume, it’s worth factoring in the encore numbers as well. All told, the four initial telecasts served up 5.49 million viewers.

When viewed through the live-plus-three-day lens, the first three weeks of The Americans is averaging 3.63 million viewers, of which more than half (52 percent) were members of the dollar demo. Meanwhile, last night’s 10 p.m. installment averaged 1.91 million viewers and a 0.8 in the demo, per live-plus-same-day data.

The Americans stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as two active KGB spies posing as a married couple in suburban Washington, D.C. Set in 1981, the action within the show coincides with the opening months of the first Reagan administration. The series is shot in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“I live in Brooklyn, just a few blocks from here,” Russell told Adweek during a break from taping The Americans’ fourth episode. “I mean, I ride my bike to work, so actually, that’s a plus. I have a kindergartner now, and I thought, ‘You know, I can work here, work close to home, be done by this amount of time…’ It made a really interesting project even more of a draw for me.”

The renewal comes in the midst of a particularly choppy broadcast run. Seven weeks into midseason, two new network series have been canceled after failing to deliver (CBS’ The Job and NBC’s Do No Harm), while a string of others are in danger. Last Thursday, the ABC drama Zero Hour premiered to just 6.38 million viewers and a 1.4 rating, while the CW’s Cult eked out just 860,000 viewers and a 0.2 in the network’s target demo (adults 18-34).

Thus far, the only successful midseason broadcast effort is Fox’s The Following. After premiering Jan. 21 to 10.4 million viewers and a 3.2 in the demo, the blood-spattered procedural is holding up its end of the bargain on Monday nights, most recently delivering 8.39 million viewers and a 2.9.