HBO renews ‘Newsroom,’ ‘True Blood’

Pay cabler orders second season of Sorkin drama

HBO has given a second-season order to Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” as well as another season for top-rated series “True Blood.”

“The Newsroom,” which aired its second episode Sunday night, drew 2.1 million in its initial telecast on June 24. Series, which stars Jeff Daniels as a cable news anchor working with a new producing team trying to raise journalistic standards, brought in a cume of 2.7 million viewers over two back-to-back airings of the 75-minute pilot.

HBO didn’t specify how many episodes it was ordering for season two, but it will likely be 10 — the identical amount for the first season.

The net gave the pilot wide exposure by offering it to nonsubscribers at no charge on HBO.com, YouTube and various free on-demand platforms. Sunday’s viewer totals for episode two will be available Tuesday.

“The Newsroom” was HBO’s third-best drama premiere in four years. Only 2010 entries “Boardwalk Empire” (4.8 million) and “Game of Thrones” (2.2 million) saw better numbers.

The series co-stars Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Sam Waterston, John Gallagher Jr. and Olivia Munn. Sorkin, Scott Rudin and Alan Poul exec produce.

Giving a sixth season to “True Blood” was a no-brainer for HBO. Show remains the most-watched series on the network and recently opened its fifth season on June 10 to 5.2 million for the initial telecast and 6.3 for two airings.

The current season of “True Blood” is the last in which exec producer Alan Ball is showrunning. Writer and co-exec producer Mark Hudis will take over those duties in season six. Greg Fienberg also exec produces.

The next two dramas returning for HBO are fall entries “Boardwalk Empire” and “Treme.”