Two of FX’s best-received shows, animated spy spoof Archer and western cop drama Justified, are both slated for renewal very soon.
Justified will be renewed later today at FX’s annual upfront presentation. This will mark the third season for the show, centering on Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens’ (Timothy Olyphant) efforts to hunt fugitives and stop crime in rural Kentucky.
Archer is also set to be renewed for a third season, but the details may not be hemmed out in time for the press event. Archer is about the titular spy and his associates, engaging in espionage and… other activities in a Cold War that never ended.
The news comes days after FX declined to renew Lights Out, a boxing drama that the network had sunk considerable production and advertising resources into. While Lights Out was an underperformer, the two returning series have gained both critical and audience acclaim.
Archer has steadily scored more than a million total viewers per episode this season (excellent for a cable-only adult cartoon) and 1.5 million turned in for the season 2 premiere. That’s an improvement of roughly 25% over the previous year.
Justified has done even better, netting 2.2 to 2.7 million viewers so far. The premiere in February saw a whopping 3.5 million viewers turn in. That makes Justifed FX’s most-watched show for the spring. Both shows received a 13-episode order for their second season, and will probably receive the same this time around.
Both shows are easily among the top of the crop for scripted television today. Justified wins on the performance of Timothy Olyphant, who clearly enjoys the role as much as the viewers do. With an excellent cast that’s given time and attention to develop some truly great drama, it’s not hard to see why so many keep returning to Harlan County. Last week’s episode, “Save My Love,” managed to have viewers on the edge of their seat for the better part of an hour – without ever firing a shot.
Coming from the same development team that made Frisky Dingo a late-night hit on Adult Swim, Archer has quickly risen to the top of adult-centered animated shows. Sterling Malory Archer is basically an American James Bond with an Nth level ego and mommy issues, and secondary characters like Carol Cheryl and “Doctor” Krieger are equally fun to watch.
Justified airs Wednesday nights at 10PM on FX.
Archer airs Thursday nights at 10PM.
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Source: TV Line