Network ups dark comedy for second season

HBO is sticking by Kenny Powers.

Pay cabler has given the official greenlight to a second season of raunchy comedy “Eastbound and Down,” which stars Danny McBride as a foul-mouthed, washed-up baseball pitcher who’s forced to return to his hometown in North Carolina.

Second season will consist of at least six episodes, possibly more, but details are being worked out around McBride’s shooting sked for a number of feature projects. Production is expected to begin in the fall.

“Eastbound” hails from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Prods. It was created and is exec produced by McBride, Jody Hill and Ben Best. Ferrell, McKay and Gary Sanchez’s Chris Henchy also exec produce.

Show’s first season was shot on location in North Carolina, though the setting may change for season two as the Powers character pursues his dream of returning to the big leagues.

“Eastbound” started out as a modest performer for HBO on its Sunday sked, paired with “Flight of the Conchords.” But by the end of its initial six-seg run it was building solidly on its “Conchords” lead-in. The March 14 finale drew 904,000 viewers in its initial run. HBO researchers said each “Eastbound” episode was seen by about 3.4 million viewers when counting HBO’s repeat runs and video-on-demand.

“We’re really excited about the cult following this show has taken on,” said McKay. “Next year we’d like to see this cult develop into a full-flung religion. and we can start judging people and telling them that they’re gonna go to hell.”

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