10:01am PT by Michael O'Connell
HBO Renews 'Vice' for Second Season
HBO is staying in business with Vice Media. The cable network announced Thursday that it has renewed freshman news series Vice for a second season.
Word of the renewal comes after strong ratings gains for the Friday night series -- it airs after the kindred Real Time With Bill Maher, with Maher also serving as Vice EP -- and the April announcement that HBO had extended the freshman run by two episodes.
"Vice’s fearless, irreverent style of news coverage has produced a uniquely provocative show,” said HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “We look forward to more of their groundbreaking reporting in season two.”
Seeing ratings rise over the course of its first season, Vice has garnered a great deal of publicity from its recent trip to North Korea. Vice founder and series host Shane Smith, who has twice reported from the isolated nation, was not allowed to return for the planned segment, so Vice sent former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman in his stead. Rodman's trip will take up the entire June 14 season finale.
“I honestly don't think there is another network in the world that would have given us the opportunity and support that HBO did over the last year,” said Smith. “We learned a lot over the course of shooting season one, and are insanely excited over our story selection for season two. Now that our various parasites, hernias and virulent rashes have been treated, we are ready in mind and in body to go out there and get the gold.”
After a solid premiere, Vice jumped 78 percent to 931,000 viewers from its inaugural airing. Early data gave the series an average gross of 2 million viewers with the addition of DVR, HBO Go and encores.
Vice is executive produced by Maher, Smith and Eddy Moretti, with BJ Levin serving as as co-EP and Fareed Zakaria as consulting producer.