Political Animals: Could Buzz Offset Soft Ratings and Beget a Season 2? And With the Same Cast?

Though Political Animals, USA Network’s star-studded “limited series event,” by no means roared out of the gate ratings-wise, laying claim to a piece of the pop culture conversation and generating buzz in other ways could – could – be enough to trigger a Season 2 pick-up.

Facing stiff competition in its July 15 bow – including Breaking Bad‘s final season opener, HBO’s noisy if polarizing The Newsroom and A&E’s ever-rising LongmirePolitical Animals started off with an audience of 2.6 million total viewers and a 0.5 demo rating. In Week 2, those numbers dipped, about 10 percent.

But when asked if there was a ratings target/minimum that would prompt a renewal order, NBC Universal chair Bonnie Hammer shook her head and told TVLine, “We never quite measure it that black-and-white. We want to see what the response is, we want to see who comes [and see] what kind of interesting buzz it brings to USA as a whole.

“It’s never just, ‘Do you hit a certain rating?'” she reiterated. “It’s really about the whole, what it adds to USA as a brand.”

Though Political Animals was from the get-go announced as a six-week limited series, series creator Greg Berlanti tells us “the hope” has always been to tell more stories about the Barrish family (fronted by Sigourney Weaver), intrepid journo Susan Berg (Carla Gugino) et al.

“Everyone is contracted for multiple seasons if we get picked up for multiple seasons,” Berlanti says. “We have a whole life of the characters [planned out], some of which is set up in these six [episodes], and a lot of which we pay off in these six.”

“The curtain can come down [after] six and hopefully you’ll be satisfied with what’s gone on,” adds executive producer Laurence Mark. “But we’re happy to raise the curtain again!”

Two weeks in, what’s your read on Political Animals? Do you vote yea or nay?