In the first season of "Treme," David Simon only had to wait until the Tuesday after the series' premiere before knowing he and Eric Overmyer would get to produce a second season of the drama about post-Katrina New Orleans.
In the second season, Simon, Overmyer and company had to wait a few extra weeks for the good news, but the result is the same. As first reported by Dave Walker of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, HBO executives called Simon today to tell him they're ordering a third season of "Treme."
As I said in my review of the most recent episode, the ratings are down from season one to season two, but that seems to be largely owing to the (relatively) strong numbers for the series premiere; the seasonal averages aren't incredibly far apart. More importantly, though, HBO isn't in the ratings business. They're in the subscription business, and subscriptions are driven by some ephemeral collection of elements, one of which is branding. It's good for the HBO brand to be in business with the man behind "The Wire," even if "Treme" isn't even as watched as that show was.
Events on the show are only up to the end of 2006 (this Sunday's episode takes place on and around Christmas), so there is still a whole lot of story for Simon, Overmyer and everyone else to tell about what happened to the Crescent City in the months and years after the storm. I'm glad we're going to get at least one more season of the incredible music, sense of atmosphere, and performances from the brilliant likes of Khandi Alexander, Wendell Pierce, Clarke Peters, and many more.
"Chuck" is going to get five seasons. "Treme" is going to get at least three. The TV business can be cruel and unforgiving, but every now and then good things happen to incredibly low-rated shows.
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