For anyone thinking this is a reactionary move given the scandals surrounding star James Franco, think again: Simon and Pellecanos have been on the record about a three-season plan since before their latest drama debuted, and Franco will remain a part of the narrative in its final season.
Simon confirmed as much on Twitter, releasing a photo of the cast and crew with a message of thanks to HBO. “We’re always conjuring the last scene before we write the first,” Simon said. “So much the better when we work for people who allow us to consistently plan, arc and execute as intended.” Read the full statement below.
We’re always conjuring the last scene before we write the first. So much the better when we work for people who allow us to consistently plan, arc and execute as intended. Thanks, @HBO, for the third and final season renewal and the chance for #thedeuce to tell its full story. pic.twitter.com/B1cOuady1X
— David Simon (@AoDespair) September 20, 2018
Starring Franco as twin brothers and Maggie Gyllenhaal (who also produces) as a prostitute-turned-filmmaker Eileen “Candy” Merrell, Season 3 is expected to jump into the mid-’80s, after Season 2 saw a time jump from 1971 to 1977.
The drama’s linear ratings for Season 2 have been down slightly from the first season. Season 1 averaged just under 900,000 viewers per episode, with the finale pulling in a season low of 774,000 watchers. Season 2 has only aired two episodes, but neither topped that figured, snagging just over 600,000 per week.
Reviews, however, have remained strong. Season 1 earned a very high average score of 85 on Metacritic.com, and Season 2 improved on that number by one point. Simon and Pellecanos’ former series, including “The Wire” and “Show Me a Hero,” earned similar raves and low ratings, making their work valuable prestige properties for a network that values quality.
No timeline was provided regarding a release date, but the final season is expected in 2019. Here’s the official logline for “The Deuce”:
Starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Deuce” follows the story of the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry in New York’s Times Square from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s, exploring the rough-and-tumble world that existed there until the rise of HIV, the violence of the cocaine epidemic and the renewed real estate market all ended the bawdy turbulence.