The coming 22-episode season breaks from recent cable practice; seasons for original series often last 13 episodes, as they have for "Rescue Me." The 22 episodes are in line with what a broadcast network would order for a successful series.
If the move proves to be successful, cable networks, such as TNT and USA--which offer increasingly popular original dramas to compete with broadcast networks--may opt to try longer seasons.
"Rescue Me," from Sony Pictures Television, will make its new-season debut April 7. To boost tune-in, Leary--a well-known comedian before his "Rescue Me" role--will embark on an 11-city comedy tour with show co-stars and others.
FX has had a run of hit dramas, but President John Landgraf said Leary's show continues as "a tentpole program ... [and] will continue to maintain a level of excellence for several years to come."
Last summer, after season five was scuttled with the strike impacting production, FX ran a series of "Rescue Me" "minisodes," delivered as 10 weekly five-minute shorts.
A year ago, Landgraf said he committed to the online short-form programming because he was "feeling frustrated" that the show would be off the air after four straight summers. Similar "minisodes" had run between seasons two and three.