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More booze! More guns! 'Boardwalk Empire' renewed for a second season

September 21, 2010 | 12:10 pm

Boardwalkempire23 Raise a glass of moonshine for HBO. "Boardwalk Empire," the network's acclaimed Prohibition drama that chronicles Atlantic City's golden age, has just been renewed for a second season. On Sunday, the show's premiere averaged 4.8 million viewers, marking it the largest debut for an HBO series since the 2004 premiere of "Deadwood," which followed a "Sopranos" lead-in. (It's also a jump from HBO's most recent hit, "True Blood," which only averaged 1.4 million viewers during its 2007 premiere.)

Directed by producer Martin Scorsese and "Sopranos" scribe Terence Winter, "Boardwalk Empire" has already been dubbed the "next Sopranos" by multiple critics. "The expectations obviously make me a little nervous," Michael Lombardo, president of HBO's programming group, told us earlier this month. "I do believe the show will absolutely deliver on those expectations, but at the same time, would I have liked to have this show surprise everybody? Yes."

And no one was more pleasantly surprised than Lombardo. "All the ingredients aligned for this one, from Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson's initial pitch, to Martin Scorsese's enormous contributions as director and executive producer, to the genius of Terry Winter and the expertise of Tim Van Patten, to a stellar cast led by Steve Buscemi," he said in a statement released by HBO. "The response from the media and our viewers has been nothing short of amazing."

-- Melissa Maerz

Photo: Paz de la Huerta in "Boardwalk Empire." Credit: Abbot Genser.

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