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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

New season’s ‘Sopranos’ will reflect time lapse

Today marks one year since the last original episode of “The Sopranos” premiered.

Now all fans have to do is wait nine more months for the next new episode.

HBO says the sixth, and probably last, season of the Emmy-winning mob drama will debut in March 2006 – two years after season five debuted and 21 months after that season’s finale, which aired June 6, 2004.

Creator David Chase has said the gap between episodes will be mirrored in the show, with action picking up about two years after the death of Adriana (Drea de Matteo) and the raid on New York mob boss Johnny Sack’s (Vincent Curatola) home that nearly ensnared Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) as well.

HBO ran teasers for the new season during its broadcast of the miniseries “Empire Falls” and has since confirmed the return of “The Sopranos” to several media outlets. A specific premiere date has yet to be set.

The new season has been in production for a little over a month.

HBO began airing reruns of season five on Sunday. The DVD package for the season, which won the show’s first Emmy for outstanding drama series, hits stores on Tuesday.

Fox pops for more ‘Dad’

“American Dad” is in no immediate danger of becoming an absentee father.

Fox has ordered 13 more episodes of the animated comedy co-created by “Family Guy’s” Seth MacFarlane, which will make for a full season of the show in 2005-06.

The new batch will be added to a previous order of 19 episodes, bringing Fox’s total commitment to 32.

The network already had ordered extra scripts beyond the original 19 episodes, the showbiz trade papers report, so production on the new episodes can begin fairly quickly.

That’s key to ensure that the show, which follows the adventures of gung-ho CIA agent Stan Smith (MacFarlane) and his family, can air a full season’s worth of installments starting in the fall.

Four episodes of the show, including a special post-Super Bowl preview in February, have aired thus far, and Fox plans to air new episodes of both “Dad” and “Family Guy” through June.

That would leave about 10 episodes of the original order to kick off the fall season, with the new batch likely to be ready by spring.

“American Dad” performed fairly well as part of Fox’s Sunday lineup during May sweeps, where it was paired with “Family Guy.”

The series has averaged about 8.5 million viewers per week and done well in the teen and young-adult demographics that make up the network’s target audience for the night.