Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime has renewed its flagship series, Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva. Army Wives has been picked up for a fifth season, while Drop Dead Diva has been renewed for a third season. Both series have received 13-episode orders for a 2011 premiere. “Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva have lead Lifetime’s charge in scripted programming and are key components to our success,” said Nancy Dubuc, president and GM of Lifetime and History, adding that series’ renewal “allows us to launch our next generation of scripted series.” Under Dubuc, who took over Lifetime in the spring, the cable network has ordered 3 pilots, Against the Wall, Exit 13 and an untitled cop drama from Drop Dead Diva creator Josh Berman. The network will certainly use Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva as launching pads for any of the 3 that are picked up to series.

While it has slipped from the blockbuster ratings of its first couple of seasons, Army Wives still remains Lifetime’s highest-rated series ever. Its most recent fourth season averaged 3.2 million viewers, with its finale  (3.9 million) hitting season highs in total viewers and all key demographics. Season 4 also included a planted spinoff episode, but the network recently passed on it. Army Wives is produced by ABC Studios, with Mark Gordon, Deborah Spera, Jeff Melvoin, Marshall Persinger and Harry Bring executive producing. Its cast includes Kim Delaney, Sally Pressman, Brigid Brannagh, Brian McNamara, Sterling K. Brown and Catherine Bell.

Comedic drama Drop Dead Diva, from Sony TV, opened its second season with 3.1 million viewers, up 11% from its series debut. Creator Josh Berman is executive producing with Craig Zadan, Neil Meron and Alex Taub. Brooke Elliott leads the cast that also includes Margaret Cho, Jackson Hurst, Kate Levering and Ben Feldman.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.