January 15, 2013 1:17pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Jeremy Piven Considers Long-Term Prospects of PBS' 'Mr Selfridge'
If the ratings of its current UK run -- a 9.36 million opener and strong retention in episode two -- are any indication, ITV's Mr Selfridge seems poised for a speedy renewal.
At the very least, the numbers bode well for PBS' upcoming airing of the 10-episode period drama, which stars Jeremy Piven as the titular department-store founder.
"My plan was not to go into TV," Piven told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Tuesday. "As I was reading [the script], I was willing my beard to grow. There was no way to say no."
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For Piven, who played power agent Ari Gold during eight seasons of HBO's Entourage, the reception means his return to TV could be a long one. Creator Andrew Davies said he was already writing season two and has a four-season plan for the character in mind.
Piven's eyes widened a bit when the number "four" was mentioned, but he did seem open to it.
"I certainly have the job," he said of a return for future seasons. "To be replaced at this point would be very disappointing and confusing. It would be like Darren in Bewitched."
The actor also noted that shooting in London proved much more appealing than Los Angeles productions. "They do something that is insanely magical," he said. "They get all of their work done in 12 hours. That's not a shot at television here, it's just a celebration of them."
"The electricians turn off the lights," said co-star Katherine Kelly. "You've got no choice."
When asked by the British Kelly about how long his hours on Entourage were, Piven replied, "116 hours a day."
Mr Selfridge comes to Masterpiece Classic on Mar. 31.