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Showtime renews ‘The Franchise’

Baseball docuseries to return for second season

Showtime has ordered a second season of baseball docuseries “The Franchise.”

Neither the pay cabler nor Major League Baseball would confirm the renewal or who will be the new team set to be featured. In its initial season, the San Francisco Giants — who were the world champions at the time — were put in the spotlight.

Over eight episodes, “The Franchise” averaged 651,000 viewers in its run last year.

It would be unlikely that Showtime would go back to the Giants. For viewers, the interest in these sports-related reality skeins is to see the inner workings of different professional teams.

Except for this past preseason when the NFL was in lockout mode, HBO has annually telecast “Hard Knocks” during the summer. The most recent team to be documented was the New York Jets and their boisterous coach Rex Ryan.

In 2010 HBO took the concept to the NHL with its “24/7: Road to the Winter Classic,” a four-episode docuseries leading up hockey’s highly publicized outdoor game played at the beginning of the year.

Showtime entertainment prexy David Nevins is expected to discuss “The Franchise” renewal Thursday during Showtime’s portion of the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena. Series is among the first projects he championed after joining the pay cabler in mid-2010.

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