Underlining its commitment to offer subscribers more than just movies, Home Box Office on Thursday made what it said was the largest single order of new series in pay-TV history--giving renewal notices to three shows and commissioning a fourth one for a total of 72 episodes.
HBO, the nation's largest pay-TV service, said it had ordered new episodes of "Fraggle Rock," "Not Necessarily the News" and "The Hitchhiker." It also ordered six episodes of a comedy series entitled "First and Ten," the pilot for which was shown in December.
"What we are saying with this announcement is that we are very serious about series," said Bridget Potter, senior vice president in charge of original programming for HBO. She said that while series are not usually a factor in selling the service to a potential new customer, they play an important role in the month-to-month retention of subscribers.
"Fraggle Rock," a children's series, received an order for 24 new episodes for 1986. That will bring to 96 the number of half-hour installments that HBO has ordered since the Jim Henson children's series debuted in January, 1983.