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'Fargo' gets strong start in ratings

Crime does pay, apparently, as the first episode of FX's new series "Fargo" premiered Tuesday to strong ratings.

The first installment of a 10-episode limited series inspired by Joel and Ethan Coen's Oscar-winning 1996 film of the same name drew 4.15 million viewers over three telecasts on Tuesday night. It delivered 1.79 million viewers in the key demographic of adults 18-49.

John Landgraf, chief executive of FX Networks and FX Productions, said in a statement that he was "incredibly proud" of the show's reception. "This is truly one of the best shows we've ever had on the network."

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FX ran a risk by taking a film by the fan and critical favorite Coen brothers and turning it into a series, but rather than attempt to retell the story of hapless car dealer Jerry Lundegaard and the pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson (William H. Macy and Frances McDormand in the film), the series tells a new story with new characters. 

Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks and Bob Odenkirk all star in the series, which is overseen by Noah Hawley. The Coens serve as executive producers of the series, which retains the same mix of gritty crime and "Minnesota nice" that made the original film a distinctive hit.

In her review, the Times' Mary McNamara called the series an "atmospheric homage that quickly stands on its own nimble feet."

The news comes on the same day that FX announced it has renewed its series "The Americans" for a third season.

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