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Entourage Next Big Thing

Via Digg, from an article titled "Generating Buzz in All the Right Places, 'Entourage' Fills a Gap for HBO" by Bill Carter in the NY TImes:

Now, in part because of a leg injury to "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, that show will not be back until later, perhaps March. When it returns, Mr. Ellin was told, HBO would like to schedule "Entourage" after "The Sopranos," which will be in its final eight-episode run, the better to expose as many viewers as possible to a show that is looking more and more like the next signature series for HBO.

Carolyn Strauss, the president of HBO Entertainment, has been making that point for months. Before the current "Entourage" season started, she called the series "the future of the network." The truth is there is not a lot of competition for that designation at the moment. "Sex and the City," HBO's first great popular comedy, is long gone. So is "Six Feet Under." Besides "The Sopranos" a batch of other HBO series are heading into their final seasons. "Deadwood" will have just a four-hour coda next season.

Even though its first season was both exciting and promising, HBO has already announced that "Rome" will have just one more season. HBO managed to talk Larry David into bringing back "Curb Your Enthusiasm" for one more go-round, but that will likely be its last.

The drama "Big Love" won wide critical acclaim in its first season, but its long-term prospects remain uncertain. Which leaves "Entourage," a show that has clearly achieved a central goal for a series on HBO, a pay channel that depends on people feeling that they can't afford not to pay the monthly fee: "Entourage" gets people talking.

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