Cinemax Gives Steven Soderbergh's 'The Knick' Early Season 2 Renewal
UPDATED: Clive Owen stars in the 20th-century period medical drama premiering Aug. 8.
Cinemax has renewed Steven Soderbergh's The Knick for a second season.
The early pickup, announced Thursday at summer press tour, comes one month before the historical medical drama was set to debut on the premium cable network.
Set in downtown New York in 1900, the 10-episode The Knick — launching Aug. 8 on Cinemax — centers on Knickerbocker Hospital and the surgeons, nurses and staff who push the bounds of medicine in a time of astonishingly high mortality rates and zero antibiotics.
Soderbergh, who directs the entire season, is an executive producer alongside star Clive Owen, Michael Sugar, and co-creators Jack Amiel, Michael Begler and Gregory Jacobs. Andre Holland, Eve Hewson, Juliet Rylance, Jeremy Bobb, Michael Angarano, Chris Sullivan, Cara Seymour, Eric Johnson, David Fierro, Maya Kazan, Grainger Hines, Leon Addison Brown and Matt Frewer co-star in the series.
"I wanted to be a big kid in a small school," Soderbergh told reporters of his insistence that The Knick be on HBO's sister network Cinemax. The filmmaker intends to continue as the sole director on the second season. "I'm going to do all 10," he said.
As Soderbergh told it, "there's a positive aspect to having a visual language that is very, very specific and very, very unified throughout the show. In this case, it's not only creatively satisfying, but it's, practically speaking, a better way to work."
As for those retirement questions, Soderbergh was ready to move past statements he made voicing his intentions to retire from directing. “I did not think I would be sitting here talking about 10 hours of material that was behind us and 10 hours in front of us," Soderbergh admitted.
He said later: "I've moved in any direction that I've felt would excite me and engage me. It's unfortunate that people have to explain why I went to work, but I'm glad I did."
For Soderbergh, whose HBO telepic Behind the Candelabra was a big Emmy winner last year, The Knick renewal comes just weeks after Starz ordered to series a 13-episode anthology version of his film The Girlfriend Experience and Amazon officially picked up to pilot his comedy project, Red Oaks.
The Knick remains a key part of Cinemax's original programming portfolio, joining Banshee (returning in 2015) and the fifth and final season of Strike Back (returning in 2015). Pilots vying for series pickups include Blanco.