Showtime has renewed the horror drama "Penny Dreadful" for a second season.
The greenlight comes halfway through the show's initial eight-episode run, which has drawn solid ratings across Showtime's linear and on-demand platforms. The show created by screenwriter-playwright John Logan has impressed the pay cabler by skewing younger than its other original series and by proving to be a big draw on the Showtime Anytime broadband platform, as well as on cable VOD.
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Showtime has ordered 10 episodes for season two, with production set to resume later this year in Dublin for airing next year. Logan penned all eight of the first season segs and intends to do the same on season two. The series hails from Logan's Desert Wolf Prods. and Sam Mendes' Neal Street banner and is a co-production with the U.K.'s Sky Atlantic, where it has also been a buzzworthy hit. Logan, Mendes and Neal Street's Pippa Harris are exec producers.
Logan's commitment to the show is notable given that he's also busy writing the next two James Bond pics, and he has a musical, "The Last Ship," a collaboration with Sting, set to open on Broadway in the fall.
Showtime entertainment prexy David Nevins said "Dreadful" has been exceeded his expectations on multiple levels. He couldn't say enough about Logan's skill in crafting a suspenseful potboiler set in 19th-century London that blends original characters with icons of horror lit including Dr. Frankstein, Dorian Gray and creepy figures from Bram Stoker's "Dracula" novel. Eva Green, Josh Hartnett and Timothy Dalton star.
"We were trying to do something a little different for Showtime and find a show that would re-establish us with passionate genre fans in the post-'Dexter' era," Nevins told Variety. "It feels like we're hitting on both levels with a show that has deep, rich, complicated characters and interesting psychology and the genre component. The world of the show is just getting deeper and richer. John Logan has incredible ideas that are just starting to be exposed. I can't wait to see how it evolves in season two."
The fact that "Dreadful" is moving the needle for Showtime on digital platforms is also a plus, Nevins said.
"We're seeing more 18-34 demographic numbers with this show than we're used to," he noted. "The show is being consumed differently than other shows -- a higher percentage of its viewership is on-demand and authenticated."
To date "Dreadful" is averaging about 4.8 million viewers a week across liner and on-demand plays since its May 11 bow. Some 3.6 million viewers have viewed episodes on demand and online through the show's third episode, Showtime said.
"Dreadful" is also generating licensing and merchandising opportunities for the CBS Corp. cabler. Book tie-ins, tarot cards and action figures are among the items about to hit retail shelves.