TVision: No saving ‘Rescue Me’ after 2011

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 11:34pm

Another of the signature dramas that have helped make cable the best place for ambitious, unconventional shows will soon be ending. TV Guide announced Aug. 27 that FX’s Rescue Me, the program that has offered both a compelling and frequently controversial look at New York firefighters will conclude in 2011, timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The final episode is a continuation of one of this season’s running storylines about a firefighter’s cancer that may have been tied to exposure at the World Trade Center site.

Aside from its earthy language and willingness to look at everything from racial issues to gender conflict and even questions of sexual identity, Rescue Me has been a showcase for Denis Leary, whose portrayal of the enigmatic, impulsive yet also sensitive character Tommy Gavin has been a revelation.

Leary also co-created the series with Peter Tolan, who said last week “within the next couple of weeks, we’re going to begin shooting the last 19 episodes, which will be the final two seasons of the show.

“I think they’re stretching the airing of it out until the 10th anniversary,” Tolan added. “So if you put 10 episodes on next year and nine the following year, you’ll be there.”

That will also make it seven seasons, putting the show on par with The Shield, which ran on FX from 2002-2009. Rescue Me wraps its fifth year Tuesday at 9 p.m.

‘Leverage’ renewed

It hasn’t quite reached the audience levels of TNT’s most popular program The Closer, but Leverage, the network’s caper about con artists with heart and a sense of justice, has become a durable and popular attraction.

It has improved this season from last year’s 3.9 million viewers to 4.1 million so far in 2009, and these days any boost in numbers is cause for celebration.

TNT announced Aug. 27 that Leverage, whose lead star is Oscar-winning actor Timothy Hutton, will be back for a third season in the summer of 2010. It will end the summer run Sept. 9  at 8 p.m. and will return in the winter with six additional episodes that conclude the second season.

Brown appears on CNN

For those who haven’t yet made up their minds in the Chris Brown/Rihanna situation, Brown will giving his side of the story Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on Larry King Live.

Brown appears on the show in a segment that actually won’t be live, according to E! Online. He’s already done the interview, during which he was joined on set by his mother, Joyce Hawkins, and attorney, Mark Geragos.

Brown hasn’t done any print or broadcast interviews since his Feb. 8 arrest for assaulting former girl friend Rihanna. He was recently sentenced to five years probation, ordered to perform six months of community service and required to undergo domestic violence counseling.