‘Girls,’ ‘Enlightened’ to return January 2013

HBO announces premiere dates at TCA panel

HBO is bringing back “Girls” and “Enlightened” in January and has greenlit a telepic that stars “Curb Your Enthusiasm” creator Larry David.

Net made the announcements and presented clips and panels of other series and movies during its portion of Television Critics Assn. tour Wednesday at the BevHilton.

“Girls,” which stars Lena Dunham as a Gotham twentysomething trying to figure out her way in life, was acknowledged by the TV Academy with five Emmy nominations, including comedy series as well as acting, directing and writing noms for Dunham.

Dunham, who created the series, exec produces with Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner.

“Enlightened,” from co-creators and exec producers Mike White and Laura Dern, was on the bubble for a second-season order but got the greenlight from HBO programming topper Michael Lombardo and co-president Richard Plepler.

Series examines the Dern character’s eclectic personality and how she often puts her personal problems and tribulations ahead of her professional ambitions.

Ten-episode season of “Enlightened” began in October and ended in December, while “Girls” launched in April.

As for why the net would launch them together in 2013 and at a time of year unfamiliar to viewers who watched the respective first seasons, Lombardo said the decision was based on necessity: “Luck” was supposed to see its second season debut in January but was suddenly cancelled, so HBO is replacing the drama with two comedies.

“We did not have a backup plan,” Lombardo revealed. “We had a hole in January … and had other new shows coming up next year. ‘Girls’ and ‘Enlightened’ were ready to be paired together.'”

The David pic, to be directed by Greg Mottola — who also serves as a helmer on Aaron Sorkin series “The Newsroom” — won’t have the actor re-creating his “Curb” character. David will instead have a new onscreen persona.

The yet-untitled film will take precedence over a new season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” HBO has always been open to additional seasons of “Curb” as long as David has a seasonlong creative storyline.

In other programming news, HBO will air a docu on the Rolling Stones, currently celebrating their 50th year together. Pic will be directed by “The Kid Stays in the Picture” helmer Brett Morgen.

When asked about HBO’s inclination to renew series quickly after they debut, rather than wait and analyze the ratings data as other networks often do, the HBO execs said it was a matter of being happy with the creative auspices of the show moving forward and not worrying so much about the numbers.

“We had seen all the episodes of ‘Veep’ and knew there were plenty of stories,” Lombardo said. “So much of our decision is based on the creator achieving what they pitched to us. It was not a hard decision.”

Plepler addressed the question of whether he and Lombardo are happy with the creative aspects of “The Newsroom,” which has seen strong reactions — both pro and con — in social media.

“Nobody writes as well as Aaron writes,” Plepler said. “Nobody can create a conversation like Aaron. There are 7 million people who are coming back every week and love it. We’re very proud he’s working for us.”

HBO needs to make a decision on the fourth season of New Orleans-based drama “Treme,” from creator and HBO vet David Simon. The third season begins Sept. 23, but a renewal would have to be made sooner rather than later because of production schedules that would have to be worked around hurricane season in the Big Easy.

As for projects definitively not coming to air, pilot “The Corrections” was denied a series order in May. Move was surprising to some based on the names attached. Show was based on the bestselling Jonathan Franzen book and had a stellar cast, including Chris Cooper, Dianne Wiest, Ewan McGregor and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Franzen and Scott Rudin were exec producers.

“It was a beautifully produced and acted pilot, but we can’t do everything we want to do,” Lombardo said. “It was a very challenging decision for us, but we felt it shouldn’t go forward.”

Lombardo also mentioned that an “Entourage” film was still a possibility, with the show’s creator Doug Ellin currently working on a script. If the script was given an OK, the cast would have to be re-signed to appear in the pic.