Network gives second-season pickup to 'Down'

Starz has given a second season pickup to its half-hour laffer “Party Down.”

Pay cabler’s sibling production/ distribution arm Starz Media will produce another 10 episodes of the single-camera series, which comes from creator Rob Thomas.

Back for season two are stars Ken Marino, Adam Scott (who will now also serve as a producer), Martin Starr, Ryan Hansen and Lizzy Caplan. Jane Lynch is committed to Fox’s “Glee” and so far is not signed on for the next round of “Party,” but Starz is holding out hope that the actress can return in some capacity.

“Party Down” centers on wannabe Hollywood players making ends meet by working for a catering company. Thomas exec produces with John Enbom, Paul Rudd and Dan Etheridge.

Fred Savage is also back to direct the series, along with Bryan Gordon, and both serve as supervising producers. Marino is also set to helm an episode.

“Party Down” airs its season one finale Friday. Starz programming exec veep Stephan Shelanski said the premium cabler wanted to send a message by renewing the show before its first season wrapped.

“This is an indication of how strongly we see the show,” he said. “It’s something we’re really proud of.”

“Party Down” is part of Starz’s recent push into the original series arena, which includes the drama “Crash” and comedy “Head Case.”

“Party Down” will likely return to production in late summer, with a return airdate sometime in 2010. Shelanski said the cabler is still ironing out its programming for next year, with an eye toward filling the Friday night 10 p.m. slot with originals year-round.

“We feel we’re on plan,” he said. “We have a continual growth model in place in terms of our original strategy. Hopefully we can accelerate that and bring on more new shows.”

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