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HBO reups ‘Deadwood’

Oater to feed more in third season

HBO has greenlit a third season of “Deadwood.”

Production on the 12 new episodes will begin later this year for a 2006 launch.

Jury is still out, meanwhile, on a renewal for the paybox’s other period drama, “Carnivale.”

After four weeks, David Milch’s grisly Western has proven itself a strong performer for HBO sans “The Sopranos,” which preceded the frosh season of the show.

Second cycle to-date has averaged a respectable 2.9 million viewers — well above the tally for HBO’s latest entries “Entourage,” “Unscripted” and last season of “The Wire.”

“Deadwood” is a “dazzling and unpredictable show that has connected with both subscribers and critics,” said HBO entertainment topper Carolyn Strauss. “I’m thrilled that David Milch will bring us more episodes of this intriguing series next year.”

Sunday’s season finale for “Carnivale” delivered an above-average 2.4 million viewers, but insiders insist the show is not likely to return.

An HBO spokeswoman said a decision has not yet been reached. “Carnivale” creator-exec producer Daniel Knauf, however, has already begun developing a comedy series project for rival pay cabler Showtime.

“Deadwood” picked up a pair of Emmys for directing and sound editing last year, as well as a Golden Globe for lead actor Ian McShane. HBO Entertainment produces in association with Red Board Prods. and Paramount Network TV. Milch and Gregg Fienberg exec produce.

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