Back from the dead: HBO orders 4th season of “Eastbound & Down”

The Kenny Powers you knew is dead. Long live Kenny Powers!

Wait, what? Despite a seemingly satisfying conclusion to the trilogy story of the comeback of baseball relief pitcher Kenny Powers in season three this spring, HBO confirmed late Monday that it had ordered eight episodes for a fourth season of Eastbound & Down. Producer Adam McKay also confirmed that deals had closed with star Danny McBride and producer Jody Hill, and announced on Twitter: “Eastbound and Down is officially coming back for a 4th season. Couldn’t be happier.”

McBride and Hill had described Eastbound & Down as more of a movie than a TV series, with each season telling its own tale.

The first season’s “movie” began with the fall of Kenny Powers from grace, as the former Major League pitcher had to deal with middle-school kids as a physical education teacher, while the love of his life, April (Katy Mixon), was dating the school’s principal (Andy Daly).

The second season’s “movie” found Powers fleeing to Mexico and signing with a baseball team there, where he also reconnects with his father (Don Johnson), and attracts scouts from the majors.

The third season’s “movie” moved to Myrtle Beach, S.C., where Powers had a second chance in the minor leagues, competing with a rival Russian reliever and eventually winning not only a spot back in the majors, but also reconnecting with his love, April, and choosing to be with her and their son instead.

The trilogy ended with — spoiler alert? — Kenny faking his death to be with them.

But the trilogy also ended with HBO calling it a season finale, not a series finale.

And in a post-finale interview with HBO, McBride said the following:

Whether there’s more to tell about Kenny? Well, the show is really a character piece, so as long as he’s alive there are a lot of stories you could tell. Creatively, we feel really happy with what we’ve done. Maybe Kenny is something we’ll come back to someday.

The HBO interview with Danny McBride eventually follows down that path…

What’s next for Kenny? Will he continue to play baseball?

That’s what we liked about this ending. The longer you stick around with Kenny, the more he f**ks his own life up. We felt this was a nice place to take the audience out of it. He takes a step in the right direction, and what that ultimately leads to, we’ll see. Jody and I do have some ideas, but that’s something we’re keeping to ourselves. If we do decide to come back to this, maybe we will tell the story of what happens to Kenny after he walks through that door with April.

What other jobs could he do?

Art dealer? It’ll be tough for a man like Kenny to fit into our world. We saw him take a regular job in the first season as a substitute teacher and that didn’t sit too well with him. It’s a long road ahead for him.

We’ll see where they actually do take Kenny Powers in 2013! Where would you like to see the story go?

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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