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Damages saved from TV axe by rival US channel

Damages, Season 2

Story by Jack Foley

GLENN Close legal drama Damages has been saved from the axe now that it has switched channels.

The critically-acclaimed drama, co-starring Rose Byrne, looked to have seen its last episode aired following the end of the third season, when FX announced that it wouldn’t be picking it up for a fourth run due to low ratings.

But the Sony Pictures TV series is now moving to DirecTV’s 101 Network, according to Variety, for at least two more 10-episode seasons.

Hence, the fourth season will debut in summer 2011 on US channel 101, with the fifth season launching in summer 2012. It is not yet known what this means for the UK run, or whether the BBC will renew its interest in the show.

More good news, however, is that both series stars Close and Byrne have been confirmed to return, with further casting announcements for the fourth season due soon. Both Close and Byrne had originally signed six-year deals before the show first aired.

Welcoming the decision, Todd A Kessler, Damages co-creator and executive producer, looked forward to delivering longer, commercial-free episodes and edgier content.

“They’re encouraging us to push the envelope with language, violence and sex, and all of those things we couldn’t do on FX. It’s very exciting,” he said. “There are no creative handcuffs.”

Damages continuing critical appeal is reflected in the fact that the third series was shortlisted for several Emmys recently. Close was shortlisted again for her role as manipulative attorney Patty Hewes, while Byrne and Martin Short grabbed supporting nods and Ted Danson and Lily Tomlin were recognised for their guest spots.