Cabler renews crime drama

HBO has granted a fifth and final season renewal to David Simon’s critically hailed crime drama “The Wire.”

After receiving universal raves from critics for the just-premiered fourth season, HBO on Tuesday gave the greenlight to another batch of one-hour episodes. Final cycle will examine the role of the mass media in Baltimore.

Renewal arrives on the heels of a lukewarm reception Sunday for the season-four opener. The 10 p.m. episode drew 1.53 million viewers overall — off from 2005’s third-season premiere, which drew 1.8 million. Lead-in, an airing of theatrical “Fantastic Four,” attracted 2.9 million at 8 p.m.

Rest of the 13-episode fourth season rolls out Sundays at 10.

Simon and Nina Kostroff Noble executive produce “The Wire.”

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