HBO sings 'Yes!' to 'Sopranos'


PASADENA, Calif. -- In its fastest renewal ever, HBO yesterday announced that it has ordered 13 more episodes of "The Sopranos" for a second season.

The renewal came after only one week on the air for the series, according to HBO. But it was a week of critical acclaim and fairly impressive ratings.

The pilot for the drama about a New Jersey mob family starring James Gandolfini was seen by 3.5 million viewers and ranked 15th out of all cable television shows airing the week of Jan. 10.

The first season of 13 original episodes will end in April, and the series had not been scheduled to start its second season until next January.

But HBO executives said yesterday that they would like to start the second season earlier, perhaps in August. That also would be an unprecedented move by the premium cable channel.

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