HBO Speeds Up Second-Season Nods

Premium cable TV network greenlights shows despite ratings

Lena Dunham, the creator/star of HBO’s Girls, and a coterie of colleagues last week stood witness to a brief announcement by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn.

The iconic Steiner, Bloomberg told journalists and producers, is expanding yet again. Then, by way of friendly banter, an HBO staffer working on the new original series Girls offered up a scooplette: “We’re prepping for a potential season two.”

Wait. Season two? The show, which doesn’t even premiere until April 15, obviously hasn’t been officially renewed yet, but somehow there’s prebaked confidence that it will be.

Ever since the premiere of Boardwalk Empire—which was renewed instantly after the first episode—HBO has taken to making season-two green lights de facto, praising the creative execution rather than the ratings. When he was asked why the network renewed Game of Thrones so quickly last year, Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president of programming, said, “Why not?” It’s good and the network is “not expecting to lose a few [viewers] after the pilot.”

HBO’s fast-draw approach seems to be catching on. Rival Starz gave its Boss the go-ahead for a second season before it even aired.

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