'Entourage' picked up for sixth season

Production to begin in early 2009

Five episodes into its fifth season and on the heels of the third consecutive Emmy for co-star Jeremy Piven, HBO's comedy mainstay "Entourage" has been renewed for a sixth season.

Production on the sixth season of the show, created by Doug Ellin, will begin in early 2009, with launch slated for next summer.

" 'Entourage' is that rare phenomenon in TV: a smart, sharp comedy series that continues to evolve," said HBO's West Coast head Michael Lombardo.

Ellin praised HBO for "allowing the show to grow and mature."

"I never imagined when we started that we would make it to six seasons," he said.

One person was even happier about the pickup.

"We just spoke to the real Johnny Drama, and he is overjoyed by this pickup," said exec producer Mark Wahlberg, whose relationship with his friends is the loose basis for "Entourage," and exec producer Stephen Levinson.

"Entourage" stars Adrian Grenier as Vince, a once-hot young actor looking for a way to rejuvenate his career; Kevin Connolly as Vince's manager; Kevin Dillon as Vince's half-brother Drama; Jerry Ferrara as Turtle; Piven as Ari, Vince's aggressive, high-powered agent; Perrey Reeves as Mrs. Ari; and Rex Lee as Ari's suffering assistant Lloyd.