HBO has renewed "Boardwalk Empire" for a fourth season.

The Prohibition era gangster drama hasn't been the awards juggernaut HBO might have hoped for (though it was a surprise winner for the Emmy drama directing award this year, even without Martin Scorsese behind the camera), but it's been a solid hit, with the pay cable channel estimating that 7.2 million people have watched the third season premiere on various platforms.

“Terry Winter, Martin Scorsese and the rest of their outstanding team continue to produce a stunning show thatnever fails to surprise and entertain,” HBO president Michael Lombardo said in a statement.  “We are excited to bring this unique series back for a fourth season.”

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Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "The Revolution Was Televised," about the last 15 years of TV drama, is for sale at Amazon. He can be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com