A link to this appeared on the Classics list yesterday ... the relevant excerpt from Variety on the next season of Rome being, alas, the last:

News that "Rome" shuts down after two seasons comes as some surprise -- show is a solid ratings performer and has sold well overseas. But with the commitments to several new drama projects, HBO has deemed "Rome" a two-season-and-out series, and Albrecht reminded TV writers that the network has no set criteria for how it schedules and orders shows.

Albrecht also noted that "Rome" is not inexpensive. He characterized it as both an "enormous investment" -- the show's $100 million production budget was widely reported -- and "the most cost-efficient show we do," having production partners in the BBC and Italy's RAI.

"The BBC and RAI are only signed for two seasons. It's a big (financial) bite for them. And for us," Albrecht said, earlier noting that the project was initially conceived as a miniseries. "Then again, we may decide that the food in Rome is so good and figure out a way (to keep it going)."

Of course, what they don't tell us is that second (and potentially subsequent) seasons should (in theory) be cheaper to produce. A big chunk of the original cost was the elaborate sets and costumes and most of those must already exist ...