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Cabler Reups Dust Bowl Drama 'Carnivale'
by Denise Martin, Variety (December 12, 2003)

The circus is staying in town.

HBO has renewed "Carnivale," ordering a 13-episode second season. Creator Daniel Knauf and Howard Klein are on board to exec produce.

Production will begin in spring with new episodes slated to bow in late 2004.

After a massive marketing campaign and positive reviews, frosh season of "Carnivale" got off to a big bang --- premiering to 5.3 million viewers. The sprawling saga of good and evil is set in a travelling carnival in the middle of the 1930s Dust Bowl and blends elements of "Twin Peaks" and "Grapes of Wrath." But the show's numbers fluctuated over the 12-seg season, with 3.5 million tuning in for the finale.

Despite audience levels well below HBO signature skeins "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City," HBO execs seem satisfied with the show's solid core of viewers. Cabler has shown a willingness to stick by shows with less than supersize auds, including "The Wire" and "Oz."

Klein, who's also an exec producer on Fox's "King of the Hill," said he had always been optimistic that the show would have another go-round on the cabler.

"I had a gut feeling about it. The feedback we'd been getting from the public and HBO has been so great," said Klein, who attributed some loss to going up against the new fall season and baseball.

Nick Stahl, Clancy Brown and Clea DuVall starred in the first season. Cast has not yet been set for the new episodes.