HBO renews 'Big Love'

Playtone-produced Mormon drama picked up for fifth season

HBO still has lots of love for the Mormon drama "Big Love."

Four episodes into the series' fourth season, the cable network has renewed the Playtone-produced show for a fifth season.

"Love," which centers on Utah native Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) as he balances the needs of his three wives (Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin) and their broods, drew 1.7 million viewers for its season premiere last month. That was up 49% from Season 3's opener.

Despite facing the NFC Championship and the Grammys the past two Sundays, the modestly rated series is tracking 13% higher than last season.

"Love," whose current story line centers on Henrickson running for office, will be getting "deeper and darker" in the second half of the season, according to creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer.

With four eventful seasons, the fifth cycle will take a breather, "settling into the stortytelling," Olsen said.

Added Scheffer, "We want to take the temperature of the marriages."

With the exception of the departing Amanda Seyfried, the series' core cast will come back for Season 5, with Olsen and Scheffer also mulling a possible return for new additions Zeljko Ivanek and Sissy Spacek.

"Love," which earned its first best series Emmy nomination last year, is executive produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, David Knoller, Bernadette Caulfield, Olsen and Scheffer.