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Legal series ‘Damages’ gets two-year renewal

Fans were rewarded with good news Monday: The FX network announced it will bring the freshman series back for not one, but two more 13-episode seasons.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Even after its season finale last month, “Damages” left viewers in suspense: Would this crafty legal thriller be renewed?

Fans were rewarded with good news Monday: The FX network announced it will bring the freshman series back for not one, but two more 13-episode seasons. Glenn Close, who stars as high-stakes litigator Patty Hewes, as well as Rose Byrne and Tate Donovan are signed to return as series regulars.

Production of the New York-based drama is scheduled to resume early next year, although the TV writers strike could delay that plan.

Premiering in July, the first season of “Damages” tracked a twisted class-action lawsuit against a corrupt industrialist played by Ted Danson, while also solving a juicy murder mystery involving Hewes’ protege (Byrne).

It won critical praise and a rapt audience — but a limited one. In the key 18-to-49 demographic, episodes averaged 2.5 million viewers. This figure was further reduced by the high portion, about 22 percent, of “Damages” viewers watching on a DVR-delayed basis, thus less sellable to advertisers.

“The DVR is putting enormous financial pressure on all original scripted series right now,” said FX president John Landgraf, “because you lose a significant chunk of the people who are actually watching your show, from what you can sell.”

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The fate of “Damages” hung in the balance for weeks, with FX finally deciding to rule in its favor.

“It’s a show whose creative reputation is destined to grow with time,” said Landgraf, voicing hopes that critics’ year-end Top 10 lists, Golden Globes attention and Emmy nominations would help build a larger audience next season.

“There’s a possibility that people will catch up with the show on DVD in the offseason,” he added. “Many people just might feel they missed something, since word-of-mouth is so strong.”