New comedy showing ratings growth

MTV has renewed comedy “Awkward” for a second season of 12 episodes, to air in 2012.

“Awkward” launched July 19 and drew 1.7 million overall viewers. After a slight post-premiere decline, the half-hour improved to 1.9 million in its most recent tally Aug. 9. It also grew 21% in the 12-34 demo from the previous week to a 2.0 rating.

“It really has completely delivered on its promise as far as we’re concerned,” MTV programming topper David Janollari told Variety. “We think creatively it is just wonderfully executed, and so brilliantly and smartly written. It’s hilarious while also being able to be honest and emotional at the same time.”

Ashley Rickards stars in “Awkward,” exec produced by Lauren Iungerich. MTV greenlit a second project from Iungerich, “Dumb Girls,” to pilot in July.

“Lauren pitched us that project after we had begun work on the series of ‘Awkward,’ somewhere in all of her spare time she found time to bring us (that),” Janollari said. “Lauren’s writing is exquisite as she’s demonstrated on ‘Awkward,’ and (“Dumb Girls”) has the same high-caliber quality comedy mixed with dramatic underpinnings.”

The growth of “Awkward,” which follows “Teen Mom” on MTV’s Tuesday schedule, along with other successes including “Teen Wolf” enabled MTV to part ways last week with “The Hard Times of RJ Berger,” which fell below 1 million viewers at the end of its second season. But MTV intends to continue pursuing both male- and female-skewing programming in drama, comedy and animation.

“Our main mantra going forward is diversity,” Janollari said. “We want a multitude of different genres on our schedule at any time.

“I think that the core target remains the same, which is kind of reflecting our lives amplified. How do we reflect our audiences’ lives and their feelings and their thoughts and their desires in an exaggerated or heightened comedic way or dramatic way?”

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