There’s lots of ‘Love’ over at HBO

Drama inks 2nd season

HBO is wedding itself to “Big Love” for a second season.

Network has greenlit another cycle of the polygamy drama from Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone Prods. and exec producers Will Scheffer, Mark V. Olsen and David Knoller.

Production on new episodes begins in August for 2007 airing. The number of segs for season two has not been set.

“Big Love” centers on a polygamist, played by Bill Paxton, and the relationships he has with his three wives, played by Chloe Sevigny, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Ginnifer Goodwin. Harry Dean Stanton and Grace Zabriskie co-star.

” ‘Big Love’ has a really unique premise that we felt wasn’t just gimmicky,” HBO entertainment president Carolyn Strauss said. “It’s striking a chord with viewers and critics, so it was a fairly uncomplicated decision to move forward.”

Drama got off to a strong start post-“Sopranos” on March 12.

While skein’s overall Sunday night numbers have taken a slight dip, it seems customary for HBO to order at least two cycles of all its original dramas, independent of viewership (such as “Carnivale”). Critically acclaimed crime skein “The Wire” has graduated to a fourth season — set to debut in September — based almost entirely on its creative merits.

Strauss also noted executives were pleased with the show’s weekly cumulative ratings — the number of viewers watching over the course of a week.

“I’d say half of the people watching ‘Big Love’ are watching it outside of Sunday nights,” she said.

Renewal for “Big Love” keeps Hanks and Goetzman’s Playtone busy at HBO: Shingle is producing the miniseries “John Adams,” based on the David McCullough tome, and “The Pacific,” a 13-part collaboration with Steven Spielberg.