FX has just renewed television’s greatest (only?) Western, Justified, for a second season of thirteen episodes. The series premiered to widespread critical acclaim and a best-ever 4.9 million viewers for an FX debut. The ratings have slipped a bit since then, but Justified has settled into a decent average of 3.4 million viewers per episode, somewhere between the little-watched third season of Emmy-winner Damages and the cultural zeitgeist that was the second season of Sons of Anarchy among the FX lineup.
Based on an Elmore Leonard short story “Fire in the Hole”, Justified was created by Graham Yost (Band of Brothers) and stars Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood) as a demure, yet trigger-happy U.S. marshal in small-town Kentucky. Hit the jump for the full press release.
Here’s the official press release:
FX ORDERS SEASON TWO OF JUSTIFIED
LOS ANGELES, May 3, 2010 – Justice has been served, as FX has ordered another season of its newest critically acclaimed hit drama series Justified, picking up a 13-episode second season, today announced John Landgraf, President and General Manager of FX Networks. Six all new episodes remain in season one, airing Tuesdays at 10 PM ET/PT, with the first season finale airing on June 8th.
“We are very excited about the tremendous, widespread acclaim that Justified has received from both audiences and television critics,” said Landgraf. “Graham Yost, Tim Olyphant, Elmore Leonard and their talented partners have crafted a uniquely ambitious and entertaining series which is everything we aspired to when we developed the show.”
Developed for television by Graham Yost and starring Timothy Olyphant, Justified (TV-MA) is based on the popular Elmore Leonard character “Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens” from his short story Fire in the Hole and some of his other novels.
“I’m just thrilled, and I’m looking forward to chronicling the future adventures of Raylan Givens,” said Yost. “To work with an actor like Tim, who was born to play this role, has been a wonderful experience.”
Through seven weeks, first-run episodes of Justified are averaging 3.4 million viewers and 1.7 million Adults 18-49. The weekly multi-run average viewership for the series is 7.5 million total viewers and 3.9 million Adults 18-49 (six episodes). Justified is this year’s number-one rated new series on basic cable in delivery of Men 18-49 (1.1 million). Justified was the most-watched series premiere in FX history, with 4.9 million total viewers, surpassing The Shield’s 4.8 million total viewers (3/12/02).
“This pick-up speaks volumes to the quality and collaboration on the series, and our unparalleled partnership with FX,” said Jamie Erlicht, President, Programming for Sony Pictures Television. “The viewer response to Justified has been as enthusiastic as ours was when we first heard the pitch.”
Olyphant stars in the lead role of Givens, a true-blue hero born and reared in the hill country of eastern Kentucky, who left at age 19 to become a U.S. Marshal. Now, years later, after shooting a gun thug in a Miami hotel and thereby incurring the wrath of his Marshals Service superiors, Raylan has been sent in punishment (and by fate?) to the one place to which he vowed he would never return – Kentucky. But, being back in Kentucky, Raylan will also have to confront a past crowded with enough skeletons to choke a graveyard.
The series co-stars Nick Searcy as Givens longtime friend and boss “Chief Deputy Art Mullen”; Jacob Pitts as “Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson”; Erica Tazel as “Deputy Marshal Rachel Brooks”; Joelle Carter as “Ava Crowder,” Boyd’s sister-in-law; and Natalie Zea as Raylan’s ex-wife “Winona Hawkins.” Walton Goggins guest stars as “Boyd Crowder,” who worked with Raylan in the coal mines as teenagers and has now chosen a criminal path.
Yost wrote the pilot and serves as Executive Producer/Writer on the series. Leonard is an Executive Producer on the series along with Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Michael Dinner, who directed the pilot episode. Justified is produced by FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television.
All new episodes of the first season of Justified air Tuesdays at 10 PM ET/PT through June 8.