HBO‘s Looking has been a growth story, and now the gay-themed freshman dramedy has been given a second-season renewal. It comes after a third consecutive week of series highs posted by the ensemble comedy this past Sunday when it drew 519,000 viewers at 10:30 PM, up 54% from the series premiere five weeks ago. Including encores, Looking averaged 749,000 viewers on Sunday, with its episodes attracting gross audience of 2 million viewers season to date. Despite Looking‘s soft ratings start last month, HBO brass were encouraged by the attention the show had been getting as they consider a show being part of the cultural conversation as important (and sometimes even more important) than ratings. As Looking‘s current HBO companion, Girls, has proven, the two are very much related, with the buzz surrounding Looking bringing more and more eyeballs.
“All the characters are gay, but that’s not the big issue in their lives. It’s not coming out stories,” said Looking star Jonathan Groff today at TCA about the new HBO series. “It is such a different time now there are a lot of pressures that gay people have from their parents that they didn’t have before, like getting married,” added creator/writer Michael Lannan. “Welcome to the mainstream, what do you do now?” he said, noting that the goal of the series was to explore the diversity of backgrounds of its characters not merely their sexuality. “Its not just a show for gay people,” said EP/director Andrew Haigh. He then joked with Groff that “there are some people on the street that you walk by that are straight.”
Set to premiere on January 19, the 8-episode dramedy chronicles the life and loves of a trio of gay men in their 30s in modern day San Francisco. “As Queer As Folk was of its time, Looking is of this time,” Lannan told the crowd in response to a question comparing the 2000-2005 Showtime series about gay men. Actors Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett and Raul Castillo joined Lannan, Haigh and Groff, who is one of the voices in Disney’s Frozen and appeared on Starz’s now cancelled Boss, onstage at the panel today.
HBO made it official: Matthew McConaughey/Woody Harrelson‘s new HBO series True Detectives will premiere on Sunday, January 12 at 9 PM, after which Girls will return for its third season. And, the network’s new Looking debuts Sunday, January 19 at 10:30 PM. True Detectives stars McConaughey and Harrelson as Louisiana detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, whose lives collide and entwine during a 17-year hunt for a killer, ranging from the original investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 to the reopening of the case in 2012.