HBO has renewed its cult-favorite drama “The Leftovers” for a third and final season.
The pickup follows a strong critical response to the drama’s second season, which ended Dec. 6. HBO cast the decision to end the show after one more season as the creative choice of series creators Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta.
“It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome back Damon Lindelof, Tom Perrotta and the extraordinary talent behind ‘The Leftovers’ for its third and final season,” said HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “This show has proven to be one of the most distinctive HBO series and we are extremely proud of its unrivaled originality, which has resulted in such a passionate following by our HBO viewers. We admire and fully support Damon’s artistic vision and respect his decision to bring the show to its conclusion next season.”
“Leftovers,” a sprawling ensemble drama with supernatural elements based on Perrotta’s novel of the same name, had mixed reviews and drew a small audience in its first season. The series marked the first HBO production by its studio sibling Warner Bros. TV.
The show, toplined by Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Liv Tyler and Christopher Eccleston, gained more traction with critics and viewers in season two and generated far more pop culture buzz. Fans of “Leftovers” dressed up as characters and demonstrated outside of HBO’s Manhattan offices to lobby for a third season pickup.
The show hit series highs with its final two episodes of the season. The Nov. 29 installment rose to 1.42 million viewers in live-plus-3 ratings.
Lindelof thanked HBO for giving them the flexibility to chart their own course in concluding the story of the fallout after 2% of the world’s population suddenly disappears.
“Tom, myself and our incredible team of writers and producers put tremendous care into designing those seasons as novels unto themselves…with beginnings, middles and ends,” Lindelof said. “As we finished our most recent season, it became clear to us that the series as a whole was following the same model…and with our beginning and middle complete, the most exciting thing for us as storytellers would be to bring ‘The Leftovers’ to a definitive end. And by ‘definitive,’ we mean ‘wildly ambiguous but hopefully mega-emotional,’ as all things related to this show are destined to be.”
Lindelof also acknowledged the role that fans and critics played in keeping the show alive.
“We are blessed by the unwavering support of our fans and the incredibly powerful voice of the critical community,” he said. “We feel absolutely privileged to heat up one last helping of leftovers.”