Showtime Renews 'Weeds,' Hints at 'L Word' Spinoff

Just one month after shattering Showtime records for original program ratings, "Weeds" has been renewed for two additional seasons.

Showtime revealed the renewal as part of a slew of announcements made during its Television Critics Association press tour session on Friday (July 18).

Network executives also announced another renewal for the long-running "Penn & Teller Bulls***!" and the possibility of a spinoff building from the series finale of "The L Word."

The fourth season of "Weeds" premiered in June to a first-airing audience of 1.35 million, up 64 percent from the show's third season premiere and Showtime's most viewed original show since at least 2004. "Weeds" has also sold well on iTunes and picked up myriad Emmy nominations, making the fifth and sixth season renewal something of a no-brainer.

Because Showtime is generally hesitant to distribute specific ratings information (except when, like "Weeds," the shows are breaking records), it's hard to know just how well "Penn & Tell's Bulls***!" has done for the network over the years. The seventh season renewal, though, means that it's now Showtime's longest-running series to date.

"Bulls***" has been ordered for 10 new episodes, which will premiere in 2009. The episodes promise to take a typically unguarded look at topics including orgasms, Little League baseball and the fundamentals of astrology.

Also scheduled to air in early 2009 is the new docu-reality series "Lock 'N Load," a fly-on-the-wall look at the proprietors and customers at a Colorado gun show. Showtime has ordered six half-hour episodes.

On somewhat more uncertain footing is the future of "The L Word." The premium cable giant previously announced that the ground-breaking drama's sixth season would be its last. That's still the case, but the show's universe may still have stories to tell.

We are in the process right now of working on an 'L Word' spinoff, which I'm not going to give you too many details about right now," Showtime CEO Matt Blank teased. "Ilene Chaiken is creating that for us. We're going to be shooting it right after 'The L Word' wraps this year, and it will star one of 'The L Word' -- one of the girls from 'The L Word' as a sort of crossover, and we're doing this interesting thing. The storyline at the end of "The L Word," the final episode in the final season, there will be an open-ended component to it. And Ilene is going to carry that story along on the Internet, which we think is an interesting way to keep 'The L Word' experience going. Then if we decide to go ahead with the spinoff that storyline will segue into the new series."

Queried later for clarification, Blank said that the possible spin-off doesn't have a title and it hasn't been determined which actress and character would be the centerpiece to the new series.