Drama series given a two-season pickup

FX has given a two-season pickup order to the Glenn Close drama “Damages,” ending weeks of uncertainty over the critically acclaimed skein’s future.

Not only did FX decide to renew the show, the cabler did so in a big way, ordering 26 more episodes (13 per season). Close is onboard for season two, as are co-stars Rose Byrne and Tate Donovan.

Production on the next season of “Damages” is set to begin early next year in New York — depending on whether the writers strike is resolved.

Show comes from Sony Pictures TV, FX Prods. and KZK Prods.

FX prexy-g.m. John Landgraf lauded creators-exec producers Todd Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman for “pulling off this hugely ambitious series and establishing ‘Damages’ as one of the best dramas on American television.”

A renewal for “Damages” wasn’t a sure thing. Landgraf himself had publicly admitted that he was disappointed with the season-one ratings. First-run segs of “Damages,” which ended Oct. 23, averaged 1.1 million viewers with adults 18-49, although the weekly multi-telecast cume brought that number up to 2.5 million.

But “Damages” ended on a creative high note — resolving several mysteries and setting up a season-two storyline — and garnered enough praise that FX ultimately saw the show as a key part of its programming and branding strategy.

“FX is proud of our status as a leader in fostering bold, high-quality scripted programming,” Landgraf said.

Sony Pictures Television programming/production co-president Jamie Erlicht marveled over the ability to now “tell 26 more hours of mind-blowing stories,” while co-president Zack Van Amburg called remaining in business with Close and the production team “as good as it gets.”

Season one of “Damages” also starred Ted Danson, Zeljko Ivanek, Michael Nouri, Philip Bosco, Anastasia Griffith, Noah Bean, Peter Facinelli and Peter Riegert.

“Damages” joins an FX slate that also includes the recently renewed “Rescue Me” and soph returnees “Dirt” and “The Riches,” as well as signature series “The Shield” and “Nip/Tuck.”

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