‘Homeland’ ordered for third season

Emmy-winning drama to get 12 episodes from Showtime

“Homeland,” which is fresh off an Emmy win for top drama series, has been renewed for a third season.

Showtime has ordered 12 episodes for what will likely be a fall 2013 launch. Production will begin in the spring.

Sunday’s 10 p.m. episode — the fourth of the season — drew 1.7 million viewers, the highest in series history for an initial telecast.

Second season began Sept. 30 and was up 60% from its series debut. Across all platforms “Homeland” drew 5.2 million viewers for the episode.

“The show continues to grow and the word-of-mouth effect is starting to happen,” Showtime topper David Nevins told Variety. “I find it incredibly satisfying that we continue to keep audiences off-guard and surprised.”

Even though the series has received tremendous plaudits from both viewers, critics and TV Academy voters, the fact that only about 22 million subscribe to the net means it’s seen by relatively a small percentage of the overall TV audience. Nevins said awards wins and other publicity help spread the word.

“We’re still in the name-recognition game and the Emmys really helped with those who are nonsubscribers,” Nevins added.

“Homeland” stars Claire Danes as an estranged CIA agent who is hunting a U.S.-grown terrorist. Both she and Damian Lewis won Emmys for their performances. Mandy Patinkin and Morena Baccarin also star.

Exec producers are Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa, Gideon Raff, Michael Cuesta, Alex Cary, Chip Johannessen, Henry Bromell, Meredith Stiehm, Avi Nir and Ran Telem. Fox 21 is producing.

Show is based on Raff’s Israeli drama “Hatufim.”

Nevins also added that Showtime’s upcoming dramas “Masters of Sex” and “Ray Donovan” are set to go into production in January. Launch dates are currently being discussed.