Last year, against all odds, HBO stuck with Mike White and Laura Dern’s dark comedy Enlightened after a very low rated first season. But there was no miracle this time, with the network making a decision not to order a third season. “It was a very difficult decision,” HBO said in a statement. “We’re proud of the show and we look forward to working with Mike White and Laura Dern in the future.” Despite improving slightly on Season 1 after moving to a protected Sunday slot after a rough Monday tryout last year, Enlightened still trailed HBO’s other original series. Its second-season premiere drew 300,000 viewers, a third of the viewership of its lead-in, Girls. The show’s first season landed star Dern a Golden Globe though it has not been as popular in the awards circles as fellow HBO female-centered comedies Girls and Veep.
EXCLUSIVE: Enlightened creator/executive producer Mike White has signed an overall deal with HBO for his production company RipCord Prods. Under the pact, White, along with producing partner David Bernad, will create and develop new projects for the pay cable network.
RipCord recently wrapped filming the second season of White’s dark HBO comedy Enlightened, which will premiere in January. The series, starring Laura Dern and Luke Wilson, received Golden Globe nominations for best comedy series and best comedy series actress, winning for Dern’s performance. RipCord has several projects in development at HBO, where the company had a first-look deal, including an untitled comedy from writer Steve Conrad. RipCord also produced digital series The Boring Life Of Jacqueline, created by Sebastian Silva, which launched in August on HBO GO.
EXCLUSIVE: Molly Shannon is reuniting with Mike White, signing on for a recurring role on the upcoming second season of White’s HBO series Enlightened. The single-camera comedy stars Laura Dern as Amy, a self-destructive woman who has a spiritual awakening and decides to live an enlightened life, which creates havoc at home and work. In a role written for her by White, Shannon will play Eileen, the loyal executive assistant to the CEO of Abaddonn. In Amy’s mission to blow the whistle on Abaddonn’s corporate malfeasance, Eileen is unwittingly duped into providing damning information about her boss. Eileen also becomes a romantic interest for Tyler, played by White. This marks the third collaboration between Shannon and White. She previously starred in his movie Year Of The Dog and his Fox series Cracking Up.
UPDATE: Here’s Mike White’s reaction to his series Enlightened getting a second-season renewal by HBO: “I know HBO has had to make some hard decisions. I feel very lucky that they are letting us make more Enlightened. We will do our best to make something cool.”
PREVIOUS: Those two Golden Globe nominations sure helped. HBO has just picked up the Mike White-Laura Dern comedy Enlightened for a second season, while canceling three other comedy series: Hung, Bored To Death and How To Make It In America. Enlightened drew critical praise but struggled mightily in the ratings on Mondays. However, ratings have never been the deciding factor in HBO’s renewal decisions as evident by the longevity of David Simon’s New Orleans drama Treme. The network was already leaning towards picking up Enightened for Season 2 when the dark comedy earned two Golden Globe nominations last week, for best comedy series and best actress in a comedy series, Dern. Hung and Bored To Death are ending their runs after three seasons, How To Make It In America after two. Of the four comedies that learned their fate today, Hung has been the highest-rated, and star Thomas Jane recently landed his second Golden Globe nomination for his role. But in the end that wasn’t enough.
Golden Globes TV: ‘Homeland’, ‘New Girl’, ‘Boss’, ‘Enlightened’ & ‘American Horror Story’ Bring In Fresh Blood; Pay Cable Hot
The Golden Globes’ M.O. is being the first to recognize new series. And with the SAG Awards largely failing to do that yesterday, the Globes ran with it today, loading up on newcomers and surprise nominees.
Golden Globe attention in the past has given much-needed boosts to low-profile first-year series like Fox’s Ally McBeal, which shot up in popularity after winning for best comedy series and star Calista Flockhart in its first season. This year, two struggling freshmen — Starz’s drama Boss and HBO’s comedy Enlightened — could benefit with nominations for best series and lead actors Kelsey Grammer and Laura Dern, respectively. Both shows just wrapped their seasons, so there won’t be an immediate effect, but increasing the visibility of the two series, which air on pay cable, won’t hurt in the long run. And while Boss was picked up for a second season before the show’s premiere, the future of Enlightened remains in limbo. HBO had been leaning toward renewing Mike White’s dark comedy, so the two Golden Globe nominations may help seal the deal. It is unclear if the second consecutive nomination for Hung star Thomas Jane would improve the HBO comedy’s renewal chances, which have been slim.
One of the series the Globes couldn’t save was ABC’s underrated My So-Called Life, whose star, then-teenager Claire Danes, won for best actress in the show’s first season. Seventeen years later, Danes is up for a Globe in the same category for her follow-up series to My So-Called Life, Homeland. (Danes won last year for the HBO movie Temple Grandin.) After being snubbed by the SAG Awards, the Showtime thriller drama made a big entrance into the awards circle, tied with HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and ABC’s Modern Family as the most nominated series with three: for best drama series and lead actors Danes and Damian Lewis.
It was a big year for pay cable. HBO and Showtime were the two most nominated networks with 18 and eight noms, respectively, while Starz scored its first two series Golden Globe noms with Boss. In TV series, pay cable networks amassed a staggering 18 nominations to broadcast networks’ 12 and basic cable nets’ five. (AMC’s tally, two, was hurt by Mad Men‘s hiatus.) Broadcast TV’s freshman class of 2011 was represented by Fox’s New Girl with two noms and ABC’s Revenge with one.
EXCLUSIVE: In a last-minute recasting, Timm Sharp has joined HBO’s upcoming Mike White/Laura Dern comedy series Enlightened as a regular. The single-camera comedy stars Dern as a self-destructive woman who has a spiritual awakening and decides to live an enlightened life, which …
EXCLUSIVE: Mos Def has joined HBO’s upcoming Mike White/Laura Dern comedy series Enlightened as a regular. The single-camera comedy stars Dern as a self-destructive woman who has a spiritual awakening and decides to live an enlightened life, which creates havoc at home …