HBO has renewed both of its new Sunday comedies, “Girls” and “Veep,” for second seasons, each with 10 episode orders.
Though HBO has largely renewed its freshman shows on the Tuesday after their debuts in recent years, that pattern hasn’t been absolute, and in this case there was the added complication that “Veep” debuted a week after “Girls,” and that HBO likely wanted to renew them at the same time to avoid making the other show look/feel bad.
Neither show gotten huge ratings by HBO standards (“Veep” got 1.4 million viewers in its very first airing, and “Girls” 872,000), but HBO judges by many standards, including how a show does in multiple airings across the HBO universe (including On Demand and HBO Go) and also on what it does for the HBO brand. And as the two best-reviewed new HBO comedies in years, these two have been very good for the brand. In particular, “Girls” was subject not only to many rapturous reviews (like mine), but so many profiles of creator/star Lena Dunham that it became one of HBO’s most-covered comedy launches ever.
And even though the reaction to “Girls” has been very mixed (though the people who stuck around after the pilot have for the most part been much more positive about episodes two and three), HBO is the kind of channel that can support a divisive, niche-appeal show that will speak to some people incredibly well while scaring away others, as opposed to the broadcast network model where the goal is to appeal to as many people as possible, even if it’s in a very shallow way.