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After airing just a handful of episodes each, the basic-cable network has renewed the critically praised comedies starring Donald Glover and Pamela Adlon, respectively, for sophomore seasons, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Both will be back with 10-episode second seasons, up from eight for Better Things and nine for Atlanta.
“It’s really gratifying to launch two new comedies that have received overwhelming critical acclaim right out of the gate and that are emblematic of FX’s award-winning brand,” Nick Grad and Eric Schrier, presidents of original programming, FX Networks and FX Productions, said Tuesday in a statement. “It is clear to us that Atlanta and Better Things have struck a nerve with viewers, which is a credit to Donald Glover’s vision for Atlanta and Pamela Adlon’s vision for Better Things. They, along with their spectacular casts, writers and directors, have created exceptional shows that we are incredibly proud to produce.”
Atlanta, which has been a passion project for Community grad Glover, has been in the works for the past few years before launching to what FX says is the best premiere of any basic-cable primetime scripted debut in more than three years among the all-important adults 18-49 demo. The series has built on its premiere audience in nearly every demo since its debut and ranks as the most-watched telecast of a new comedy series in adults 18-49 since April 2014. With three days of delayed viewing, Atlanta’s third episode collected 1.3 million among adults under 50 — that’s up 23 percent from Week 2 (which was up 16 percent from its debut).
The series, which follows two cousins working through the Atlanta music scene in a bid to better their lives and that of their families, is executive produced by Glover and showrunner Paul Simms and MGMT Entertainment’s Paul Simms and Dianne McGunigle. It is produced by FX Productions.
Better Things, meanwhile, has drawn FX’s most female-driven audience ever. With seven days of DVR, the premiere ranks as the second-most-watched basic cable comedy series premiere of the year among women 18-34 (behind only Atlanta). The series debut, with seven days of DVR, delivered 1.4 million total viewers and 763,000 among adults under 50.
The series, which is based on experiences in Adlon’s own life of being a working mother in Hollywood with three daughters, is exec produced by Adlon and Louis C.K.’s FX Productions-based Pig Newton banner. Adlon and C.K. both direct episodes of the comedy, which counts 3 Arts’ M. Blair Breard and Dave Becky among its exec producers.
For FX, the renewals come as the John Landgraf-led outlet shattered the record for Emmy wins by a basic cable network with 18 statuettes (including 10 for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and an outstanding animated program win for comedy Archer). Atlanta and Better Things join a roster of original comedies that include Louie, Baskets and FXX’s Man Seeking Woman and You’re the Worst, among others. The news also comes after FX parted ways with Denis Leary rock comedy Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll after two critically praised but little-seen seasons.
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