HBO Goes For Second At-Bat With 'Eastbound & Down'

HBO's baseball-tinged scripted series Eastbound & Down will remain on the pay network's major league programming roster for another year.

The network Wednesday renewed its freshman comedy series, starring Danny McBride (Tropic Thunder) as Kenny Powers, an obnoxious, washed-up pro pitcher who reluctantly returns to his hometown to teach a high school phys ed class.

Production will begin later this year, with the series scheduled to return in 2010.

The six-episode series, produced by comedian Will Ferrell, averaged over 3.5 million gross audience per episode including replays, according to HBO, with its Sunday night audience growing by 35% from its February premiere (671,000 viewers) to its March finale (904,000 viewers).

"Eastbound & Down's raucous comedy sparked a loyal and enthusiastic following that grew throughout the season, and we're happy to bring the show back for more innings," said Michael Lombardo, president of HBO's programming group and west coast operations, in a statement. "It will be fun to see what happens to Kenny in season two."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.