TV News: HBO Renews ‘Enlightened,’ Cancels Three Other Series

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CHICAGOHBO has such a limited amount of series and so many critical darlings that when they announce a renewal or a cancellation it carries more weight than most networks. They announced four today with no major surprises as we all expected that Golden Globe-nominated “Enlightened” would return for a second season and even fans of “Hung,” “Bored to Death,” and “How to Make It in America” could have guessed that those series were headed in the other direction.

Starring Laura Dern, “Enlightened” has started to build quite a buzz, even appearing on a few Top 10 TV lists (ours will publish on January 3rd, 2012, mark your calendars). It’s hard to say the show is a “hit” by any standard judgment system since ratings for lower level HBO shows are often so miniscule as to not make much on an impact at all, but the fact is that critical fanfare brings in subscribers, which is all HBO really cares about in the end. As long as you subscribe, they’re happy. And the acclaim for “Enlightened,” along with the HFPA nomination and what seems to be a very likely Emmy nomination next summer, these are the kind of things that bring in subscribers.

On the other hand, shows that have kind of been on borrowed time, not really finding critical acclaim or pop culture buzz, must be shown the door to make way for alternatives. “Hung” has a bit of buzz in its first season and it was certainly nice to sell the participation of stars like Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, and Zack Galifianakis for three seasons of “Bored to Death,” but neither series made enough of a critical or cultural impact to make another go-around logical. “How to Make It in America” was so dead in the water that most were surprised it even received a second season. content director Brian Tallerico

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