Showtime’s done well with its latest original shows. Hour-long drama Shameless and half-hour single-camera comedy Episodes are both getting a second season courtesy of the cable network, with Showtime announcing their renewals in a press release today.
Shameless is based on the British television show of the same name. It follows a drunk, neglectful father (played by William H. Macy of Fargo and upcoming film The Lincoln Lawyer) and his six children in a squalid Chicago suburb. When the father is unable to provide even basic support for his kids, they learn to fend for themselves. The show, created by Paul Abbot, the showrunner for the UK original, is a mix of dark comedy and drama, highlighting the plight of the extreme poor.
Episodes is a sitcom about a sitcom. The premise is a strange one: a husband and wife team of writers/producers for a British sitcom are approached by an American studio executive who wants to adapt their show for the States. After the pair move to Los Angeles, the studio replaces their wizened, articulate leading man with… Joey from Friends.
The fish-out-of water comedy combined with Matt LeBlanc’s surprisingly subtle acting makes for a reshreshing and self-referential comedy. Check out Screen Rant’s review of the first two episodes of, uh, Episodes.
Both shows have done well on Showtime. Shameless premiered to 1.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched pilot for the premium cable network since 2003. Ratings have stayed high for the series ever since, and there are still three episodes left of the first twelve-part season.
Shameless has been renewed for another twelve episodes. Episodes debuted to 770,000 viewers, dropping to 590,000 for its finale last weekend. The show has done even better in the UK, where it consistently scored over a million viewers. Episodes ran for seven episodes in its first season, but Showtime hasn’t settled on a number for the second.
Both Shameless and Episodes will return in 2012, probably in same January slots the occupied this year.
Shameless airs Sunday nights at 10 PM on Showtime. Episodes has concluded its first season, but you can still catch reruns Monday nights at 11:00 and 11:30.