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Posted at 05:58 PM ET, 03/29/2011

FX picks up ‘Justified’ for a third season


Timothy Olyphant in “Justified.” (FX / SONY)
After hitting a rough patch, FX finally has something to boast about: the basic cable network announced Tuesday it’s picked up its Timothy Olyphant lawman drama “Justified” for a third season.

The show, based on crime novelist Elmore Leonard’s work, is averaging nearly 4 million viewers this season --  that’s 15 percent better than  season No. 1, reports WaPo Team TV’s Emily Yahr.

Last week, FX -- the network with a reputation for treating its shows with respect and its cancellations with transparency --  announced it was not moving forward with a second season of its critically acclaimed boxing drama “Lights Out.”

Sagging ratings did in the Holt McCallany starrer, that had attracted about 1.5 million viewers when it premiered in January but more recently was only clocking around 863,000 fans. FX said the final two episodes would run Tuesday, March 29, and April 5.

And the network invited any member of the press who wanted to speak to its president, John Landgraf, about this decision, to contact them which, yes, is such shocking behavior on the part of a television network, it constituted “news.”

FX, you’ll recall, is the network that held an actual wake when it cancelled its quirky private eye drama, “Terriers” back in December. 

Landgraf took a full half-hour out of his busy day to get on the phone to console the ones who seemed to be taking the news the hardest – TV critics. Knowing he was speaking to those who had spent the last few weeks, on their blogs and Twitter accounts, literally begging people to watch the show, Landgraf launched into a really detailed explanation of his decision.

Here’s the short version: “The ratings, sadly, stank.”

Landgraf wound up the wake by noting the success of a new series on a rival network.

“Kudos to AMC for having such success with ‘The Walking Dead’,” Landgraf said graciously – or cynically, he’s a tough guy to read over the phone. 

“It’s now obvious that zombies was an unfulfilled need in the American people.”

By  |  05:58 PM ET, 03/29/2011

 
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