Showtime has renewed the "The Tudors," but the pick-up comes with a catch -- The show's fourth season will also be its last.

On Monday (April 13), Showtime ordered a 10-episode fourth season of the period drama, with new episodes set to premiere in 2010. The fourth season will focus on Henry VIII's relationship with wives Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr, as well as his descent into madness. That will bring the monarch's story to a close and will also bring the series to an end.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers will continue with his Golden Globe nominated turn as King Henry VIII (looking less and less believable as the increasingly portly king as time passes) and series creator Michael Hirst will continue to handle writing and executive producing duties. When "The Tudors" reaches its finale, the series will have aired 38 episodes, all written by Hirst.

"I'm thrilled to complete the saga of Henry VIII as reconceived by Michael Hirst," says Showtime Entertainment President Robert Greenblatt in a statement. "He and Jonathan Rhys Meyers have breathed new life into the costume drama by making it both modern in sensibility but also faithful to history.  I think we proved that even after 500 years this is a great story."

The third season of "The Tudors" premiered on April 5 and Showtime's press release says the premiere "garnered record ratings," referring to the roughly 1.3 million people who watched the premiere between its first on-air showing and OnDemand.

"The Tudors" will return to production this June in Dublin, Ireland.


A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.