Oct. 03--Ichabod Crane's battle against the menacing Headless Horseman and the looming apocalypse is just getting started. Fox's locally filmed freshman series "Sleepy Hollow" has been renewed for a 13-episode second season, set to air in fall 2014, the network announced Thursday.
The show is the first new fall series on any broadcast network to be renewed.
Fox chose to order a second 13-episode season instead of adding episodes to the current season, which suggests the network envisions "Sleepy Hollow" as a 13-episodes-per-year series. Broadcast networks increasingly have embraced seasons shorter than a standard 22 episodes, a format that has proven successful for cable networks. The shorter season structure also was implemented by CBS for "Under the Dome," the locally filmed series that aired its 13-episode first season this summer.
In a statement, Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment for Fox, said, "The show has proven to be a risk well worth taking -- it's a conceptual blast unlike anything else on television and it all holds together with inventive writing and a fantastic cast. I can't wait for fans to experience what else is in store for this fall and even more of this wild ride into season two."
A spokesperson for the series said that, at this time, no one has talked about changing the production location of the show for the second season.
The show will continue to film its first season at three sound stages at Wilmington's EUE/Screen Gems Studios and at locations across the Cape Fear region. First season production should wrap by Christmas, said Bill Vassar, the studios' executive vice president.
"This renewal means the show will continue to grow and we are excited because [if they do return] that means more jobs for the area," Vassar said.
The show employs between 175 and 250 local crew members, depending on daily production requirements, according to the Wilmington Regional Film Commission. Several crew members filming a scene outside of the New Hanover County Courthouse Thursday afternoon said that the renewal news was exciting but said they would celebrate when the show confirmed it would be returning to film in the area.
Thursday's renewal comes as the series continues its impressive ratings streak. The third episode, which aired Monday, attracted 7.9 million viewers and a 3.0 rating in the key 18-49 age demographic (or 3 percent of all viewers in that age group). The pilot episode, which aired Sept. 16, was the most-watched Fox drama premiere since 2006 with 10.1 million people tuning in and a 3.5 18-49 rating. In Thursday's announcement, Fox revealed that more than 22 million viewers have watched the pilot episode since its premiere across various platforms including on-demand and online streaming services.
The series is a genre-bending revisionist spin on Washington Irving's classic tale "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" that pulls Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and the Headless Horseman through time to the present day where they become the leading forces for good and evil in the beginning days of the apocalypse. Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones and Katia Winter also star.
The show's fourth episode airs 9 p.m. Monday on Fox. Due to baseball coverage, the network confirmed the series will take a two-week hiatus beginning Oct. 21 and will return Nov. 4.
Hunter Ingram: 343-2327
On Twitter: @WilmonFilm
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