HBO Thursday renewed its news/talk series Real Time With Bill Maher for a ninth season as part of the stand-up comedian and writer's two-year deal with the network.
HBO will produce 35 one-hour episodes of the series, which is currently in the middle of its eighth season on the network, according to HBO officials. Season nine will premiere in early 2011.
"Bill Maher is one of the most sought-after opinion makers on TV," said Nancy Geller, senior vice president, HBO Entertainment in a statement. "I'm delighted that this fearless and provocative observer will return to HBO next year. By presenting an increased number of episodes in 2011, we'll be able bring this live, topical show to our subscribers almost year-round."
The announcement comes on the heels of the pay TV network's renewal of freshman drama series Treme earlier (read review here) this week after only airing one episode of the New Orleans-based drama series. Treme drew 1.4 million viewers for its April 11 premiere.
"I can't think of another show that is more emblematic of what we aspire to be as a network than Treme," said Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming in a statement. "In the tradition of The Wire, David Simon and Eric Overmyer have embarked on an exploration of the soul of one of the world's most unique cities through the lives of an exquisitely crafted cast of characters. We are thrilled that the press has recognized the profound artistry and intelligence of this show and are eager to see where David and Eric take us in a second season."
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.
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