5th 'Rescue' call grows to 22 stories


FX is bringing "Rescue Me" back with an expanded fifth season.

The network has given a 22-episode order to the drama series starring Denis Leary. (Previous seasons consisted of 13 episodes.)

Production is scheduled to begin in early 2008, pending a WGA strike, and the season will be split to air in two separate cycles.

Leary, Peter Tolan and Jim Serpico will return as executive producers and showrunners on the series, which is produced by Apostle, DreamWorks Television and Sony Pictures Television.

All of the series regulars are set to return. Along with Leary, the series stars Michael Lombardi, Tatum O'Neal, Steven Pasquale, Andrea Roth, John Scurti, Daniel Sunjata and Callie Thorne.

FX Networks president and GM John Landgraf praised the cast and crew.

"'Rescue Me' has always been the product of the unique vision and talents of Denis Leary, Peter Tolan and Jim Serpico, along with one of the best acting ensembles on television," Landgraf said. "The show has been a great source of pride to FX and remains one of the cornerstones of our respected brand of original series."

This past year, Leary received his second Emmy nomination for his role on the show, which he created with Tolan. In 2005, the pair were nominated for a writing Emmy, and Tolan also was nominated for directing.

"To have all three original producers back for Season 5 is key; their vision and execution are what make this show a success," SPT co-president Jamie Erlicht said.

Added SPT co-president Zack Van Amburg: "There is no better way to come back to a fifth season than with an expanded 22-episode order."

Last season, first-run episodes averaged 2.8 million total viewers, including 1.9 million in the key adults 18-49 demo.