HBO announced yesterday that it will air an additional eight episodes of “The Sopranos,” to debut in January 2007. These episodes will be in addition to the 12 to air for the show’s sixth season, which is slated to launch in March 2006.
HBO’s strategy is to stretch out the Emmy-winning mob drama’s swan-song season over many months, much as it did with “Sex and the City.” HBO aired 12 episodes of that show from June-September 2003 and the final eight in January-February 2004.
“We are obviously delighted that we will be able to extend ‘The Sopranos’ series beyond its slated 12 episodes,” Chris Albrecht, HBO chairman and CEO said in a statement. “When something is as remarkable as ‘The Sopranos,’ our audience would like to see it continue as long as possible; so we are thrilled that David Chase felt there are more stories to be told.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, it was unclear whether the extended-season plan would trigger new contract negotiations with series star James Gandolfini, who set a salary benchmark for actors toiling in the cable realm with his last contract renegotiation.