Firefighter drama to make 19 final episodes

Denis Leary is about to put out his last fire.

FX’s “Rescue Me” is set to end its run in 2011, 10 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that provided the creative impetus for the series.

New York-shot drama from Sony Television will continue for 19 more episodes after the current season finale airs on Tuesday. It’s undetermined how the network will release the final shows, though most likely in two different seasons of 10 and nine episodes, or vice versa.

Production on the final episodes begins in September.

Before this season began, the series was on an 18-month hiatus due to the writers strike. In between seasons, several “minisodes” were done to whet the appetite of fans.

Leary, who stars as a hard-drinking conflicted fireman who begins dating the wife of his cousin who died in the World Trade Center, has twice been Emmy nominated for his performance, and once for co-writing with Peter Tolan.

The show is averaging 1.4 million total viewers and 914,000 in the 18-49 demo, down about 38% from a season ago. Those numbers go up significantly, however, when DVR and video on demand usage is included.

FX shouldn’t have difficulty replacing “Rescue Me” in terms of original drama programming. Cabler has been very active of late in acquiring new shows, including picking up Timothy Olyphant starrer “Lawman” from showrunner Graham Yost and greenlighting pilots “Terriers” and “Lights Out.”

“Rescue Me” is exec produced by Leary, Tolan and Jim Serpico.

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