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HBO To Return to Rome

HBO picked up a second season of epic drama Rome, which debuted to solid ratings and critical acclaim Aug. 28. The 12-episode second season of the series, a co-production with the BBC, is slated to hit the pay cable network in fall 2007, with production beginning this March.

Rome’s premiere notched a 9.1 rating/13 share in HBO homes for its premiere episode Aug. 28. That made it the pay cable network’s highest rated program since the fourth season premiere of Six Feet Under in June, 2004.

Six Feet’s series finale the week before, however, earned more total viewers than Rome – 3.89 million to Rome’s 3.81 million.

HBO invested a hefty $100 million in the first season of the show and launched what the network called its biggest-ever campaign for viewers for a new series.

In June, HBO moved up the drama’s premiere date from Semptember – that way it debuted closer to a free preview the network is offering this weekend, which includes Rome’s first three episodes on HBO on Demand for all digital-cable customers.

New episodes of Rome’s current season premiere Sundays at 9 p.m.

In Aug., HBO has picked up a second season of Ricky Gervais’ entertainment industry spoof Extras, before even premiering the first season of the BBC co-production.

HBO will debut Extras’ first season Sept. 25 at 10:30 p.m., after the fifth season premiere of fellow entertainment industry parody Curb Your Enthusiasm.