December 20, 2011 10:15am PT by Lacey Rose, Lesley Goldberg
HBO Renews 'Enlightened,' Cancels 'Hung,' 'Bored to Death,' 'How to Make It In America'
HBO has renewed critical darling Enlightened for a second season, while opting not to move forward with three series: Hung, Bored to Death and How to Make It In America.
With a slate of upcoming series including Luck, Veep, Girls, Life's Too Short and Angry Boys, the premium cable network cleaned house Tuesday, making room on its schedule by ending the runs of the three low-rated comedies.
Hung, which stars Thomas Jane as a down-on-his-luck suburban high school basketball coach who resorts to male prostitution, returned for its third and now final 10-episode season earlier this fall.
Though the half-hour series from Dmitry Lipkin and Colette Burson fell far short of garnering the kind of accolades or viewership that other efforts including Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones did for the premium cable network, it didn't go entirely unrecognized on the award show circuit. Jane and co-star Jane Adams were each nominated for Golden Globe nominations for their roles in 2010 -- only Jane was on this year's Globes roster. In the end, neither the praise nor the ratings -- its third season finale collected 930,000 viewers, down considerably from the 2.31 million who tuned in for its Season 2 closer -- were enough to warrant another season.
Bored to Death, starring Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson, opened its third season to a similarly disappointing average viewership of just 240,000, a significant drop from the 1.1 million the second season garnered a year earlier.
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How to Make It In America -- often dubbed Entourage for the East Village set -- also struggled to find the buzz and viewership Entourage was able to garner over its eight-season run. The Bryan Greenberg comedy closed out its second season with a paultry 560,000 viewers.
For its part, Enlightened opened to just just 210,000 total viewers in its October premiere, low even by HBO standards. While the critically praised Laura Dern vehicle continued to trot along with a limited viewership over the course of its freshman season, it earned what the other three series did not: awards show attention, picking up surprise Golden Globe nominations in both the comedy and best actress category last week.
Creator Mike White told The Hollywood Reporter last week that the nominations mean "we may have to grovel a little less for a second season." Whether or not any actual groveling occurred, White got his wish.