Chris Chalk HBO Paul Drake (copy)

Chris Chalk, a graduate of UNCG, plays Paul Drake in HBO’s new take on “Perry Mason.”

HBO has renewed its period drama “Perry Mason” for a second season.

The series, which features Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”) and Chris Chalk, who is an alumnus of UNCG, was originally billed as a miniseries, but following its early success the network has decided to continue it. The first episode was HBO’s most-watched series premiere in nearly two years, according to the network, and the debut episode has now been seen by eight million viewers.

In a statement, Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO Programming, said, “It has been an exciting journey to work with the immensely talented team behind ‘Perry Mason.’ Viewers have relished being transported back in time to 1930s Los Angeles each week, and we are thrilled to welcome the show back for a second season.”

Chalk, an Asheville native, plays Paul Drake, a beat cop in 1930s L.A. who befriends and works with Perry Mason in the series. Back in June, before the first season debuted, Chalk said he was optimistic the show would get picked up for more episodes.

“What a second season has to offer is a good job expanding on everyone’s life,” he said. In the “Perry Mason” mythology, as depicted in the original novels and the classic TV series, Paul Drake goes on to become Mason’s head investigator. The current series is a prequel that shows the characters in their early days.

The current season still has three episodes to go, including tonight’s installment, which airs at 9 p.m. on HBO. The season finale is scheduled to air Aug. 9.

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Anna Camp, an alumna of the UNC School of the Arts, is the latest celebrity to warn about the dangers of COVID-19 based on personal experience.

“I felt it was my responsibility to share that I ended up getting COVID-19,” said Camp, who is perhaps best known for the “Pitch Perfect” movies and the NBC sitcom “Perfect Harmony.” She also appeared in the movie “Brave New Jersey,” which played at the RiverRun International Film Festival here several years ago.

She said in a message to more than 1.1 million fans who follow her Instagram page: “I have since tested negative, but I was extremely sick for over three weeks and still have lingering symptoms.”

Camp said that for the most part, she had been practicing safety procedures to avoid the virus. “I was incredibly safe,” she said. “I wore a mask. I used hand sanitizer. One time, when the world was starting to open up, I decided to forgo wearing my mask in public. One. Time. And I ended up getting it. I believe it may have been because of that one time.”

She described the panic she felt after contracting a virus that is “basically untreatable and is so new that no one knows the long-term irreparable damage it does to your immune system” as being “unbelievably stressful.”

She said she completely lost her sense of smell and taste, and for a long time did not know when or if they would come back, which she found “extremely disorienting,” and said she currently only has about 30 percent of the sense of smell she used to. A month after she became sick, she said, she still has persistent symptoms including dizziness, extreme fatigue, impacted sinuses, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and fever.

As a result of her experience, she implores people to wear their masks. “It can happen any time,” she said. “And it can happen to anyone. Even that one time you feel safe. We can all make a difference. Wearing a mask is saving lives.

“Thank you to everyone who reached out to check on me during this scary time. Please be safe out there. Let’s all do our part and wear a mask. I don’t want any of you to go through what I did. Even though it’s a little thing, it can have a huge impact, and it’s so incredibly easy to do.”

“Anna isn’t the only member of our UNCSA alumni community to have contracted COVID-19,” the school posted on Facebook. “Most have recovered, but some have not. We’re thankful she’s doing better and is on the mend.”

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The series “Tell Me a Story,” an adult psychological drama with stories inspired by classic fairy tales but updated to a modern New York City setting, is making its broadcast TV debut at 9 p.m. Tuesday (locally on WCWG CW-48) after having previously been only available to people who subscribed to the CBS All Access premium streaming service.

The series will be shown on the CW network, and was created by North Carolina native Kevin Williamson. The first season tells three intertwined stories, with a cast that includes Billy Magnussen, a UNCSA alumnus who has appeared in such films as “Game Night” and Disney’s live action “Aladdin.”

In “Tell Me a Story,” he plays a teacher in an illicit relationship with one of his students, in a story inspired by “Little Red Riding Hood.”

The second season — which CW may air later this year or may save for next season — also has a UNCSA alum in one of the leading roles. Matt Lauria plays a character inspired by the prince from “Cinderella.” CBS All Access canceled the show after two 10-episode seasons.

Tim Clodfelter writes about television for the Winston-Salem Journal. Contact him at 336-727-7371 or tclodfelter@wsjournal.com.

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