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“In Treatment”: Doc on the rocks

So maybe it took a while, but somebody finally noticed how good “In Treatment” is.

That somebody was the Golden Globes, and the HBO shrink series got some love from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. with five nods after Emmy pretty much said thanks but no thanks in the fall.Treatment

At Friday’s TCA panel, exec producers Steve Levinson and Warren Leight chatted up the new season. Noticeably absent, however, was top doc Gabriel Byrne, who was suffering from strep throat and a stomach bug and couldn’t make it. Geez, these thesps will do anything to avoid the grilling of the assembled press.

The first order of business discussed was that telecast structure of the second season has been revamped. No longer will it be one half-hour each weeknight. Rather, two episode will air on Sunday nights and then another three the next day on Monday.

Programming topper Sue Naegle said the net found that viewers were watching multiple episodes on Tivo anyway, so why not stack ’em up themselves, and put it on Sunday to start, the cabler’s signature night.

“People like to dig in and watch more than one at a time,” she said. “It’s easier this way for people to find it. It was tough to get into the swing of thing five nights a week.”

The clips for the new season looked intriguing. Byrne’s character, Dr. Paul Weston, has seen his marriage disintegrate and now he’s practicing therapy out of Brooklyn brownstone apartment. His new clients include CEO John Mahoney (“Frasier”), attorney Hope Davis, a young woman suffering with a cancer diagnosis and a teenage boy whose parents are getting divorced.

Also returning are Dianne Weist as Byrne’s own shrink and confidant, Michelle Forbes as his wife and Emmy winner Glynn Turman as Blair Underwood’s grieving father. The series begins in April.

The theme for the new season? Leight, who arrives to the show after years on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” said it’s all about finding out what’s bubbling underneath.

“These are people in pain, in need,” he explained. “What’s the subtext? How did they get to this point in their lives now? These are characters in crisis. Instead of acting out (as they would in “L&O” with a gun or some other harmful way), they see a therapist.”

We’ll also learn more about Dr. Weston’s backstory, and how he got to this place in his life. His children will also make more of an appearance.

“Our challenge is to understand this guy and keep his voice consistent,” said Leight in writing the character, “but Gabriel knows the voice better than any writer would. That’s a help to us.”

— Stuart Levine

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