ABC Family has picked up one of its top series, Pretty Little Liars, for a third season, which is slated to launch next summer. The size of the order is a whopping 24 episodes, which rivals those for broadcast drama series. It matches the mystery series’ sophomore-season order, which was consequently upped to 25 episodes with a Halloween special that aired last month. Pretty Little Liars, from Warner Horizon and Alloy, returns for the second part of its second season on Monday, January 2. The series, which broke ABC Family ratings records in several young demos when it premiered last year, has become one of the network’s top three shows, or as ABC Family’s president Michael Riley calls them, ABC Family’s “triple-threat”: Switched At Birth, The Secret Life Of The American Teenager and Pretty Little Liars.
Just like it did with Spartacus‘ second season, which was ordered before the series had premiered, Starz today renewed the toga-and-sandals drama for a third season ahead of the January 27 debut of Season 2, Spartacus: Vengeance. Production on the yet-untitled third season is slated to begin in New Zealand in early 2012. “Many surprises are in store for Vengeance viewers this year, but rest assured the multi-layered plot and richly developed characters will continue to be a trademark of this series,” said exec producer Rob Tapert. Vengeance marks the debut of Liam McIntyre in the title role of Spartacus, in which he succeeded the late Andy Whitfield. McIntyre is joined by returning cast members Lucy Lawless, Peter Mensah, Manu Bennett, as Crixus, Dustin Clare, Nick E. Tarabay, and Katrina Law. The most recent chapter of Spartacus was the prequel, Gods Of The Arena which ran in January 2011 and averaged an estimated 6.2 million total viewers per episode across all linear channels and on-demand viewing.
TLC has renewed unscripted series Long Island Medium for a second season with a 12-episode order. Season 2 is slated to premiere in March 2012. The first season of the half-hour series averaged 1.3 million viewers. Long Island Medium follows real-life psychic medium Theresa Caputo as she juggles her readings and her family.
Very appropriately for Halloween, FX’s breakout new horror drama American Horror Story today was renewed four episodes into its freshman run. The series, created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, has received a 13-episode second-season order. “It’s one thing to have the ambition and guts to reinvent a genre in a way that makes it captivatingly fresh for a broad audience — it’s something else entirely to have the craft to back that ambition up,” said FX president John Landgraf. “Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have hit the trifecta with Nip/Tuck, Glee and now American Horror Story, which will be scaring FX’s viewers to death for many years to come.”
The series premiere of 20th TV-produced AHS delivered 3.14 million adults 18-49 and 1.77 million adults 18-34 in Live+7 to rank as FX’s highest-rated series debut in those demos. On a Live+7 basis through two weeks, first-run episodes of AHS are averaging 4.2 million total viewers, 2.9 million adults 18-49, and 1.7 million adults 18-34. On a Live+3 basis, last week’s fourth episode was the highest-rated episode to date in adults 18-49 (3.1 million) and adults 18-34 (1.85 million). AHS, whose first season ends on December 21, is currently tracking to become the highest-rated first season of any series ever on FX.
After shattering cable ratings records with its second-season premiere, AMC’s zombie drama The Walking Dead has been quickly rewarded with a third-season pickup. “Today we are pleased to announce that the ‘dead’ shall live as we proudly renew The Walking Dead for a third season on AMC and, globally, with our terrific partners at Fox International Channels,” AMC president Charlie Collier said. After launching its second season with 7.3 million total viewers and 4.8 million in the adults 18-49 demographic — the most ever for a basic cable premiere – The Walking Dead slipped only a bit in Week 2 to 6.7 million total viewers. The series is based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman. Glen Mazzara serves as the showrunner. Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert and Frank Darabont, who exited as showrunner midway through production on Season 2, are executive producers. Greg Nicotero is a co-executive producer. Fox International Channels rolled out its global launch for The Walking Dead this weekend, breaking pay-TV ratings records worldwide and drawing more than 10 million viewers in 122 countries for the season premiere.
NBC has renewed Love In The Wild for a second season, the first new broadcast series that launched this past summer to get a second spin. The move is somewhat surprising given that the adventure-dating series, a cross between Survivor and Bachelor Pad, averaged a lackluster 1.8/5 in adults 18-49 and 5.5 million viewers. But the ratings bar in the summer is pretty low. And I’ve heard that NBC brass liked the premise of the Endemol USA-produced show and felt that it could do better with a stronger cast. “The success of the relationships formed on the first season of this series is a testament to the unique format of this show,” NBC’s president of alternative Paul Telegdy said. “We look forward to an even more compelling season as the series will return with new format twists and a new set of contestants who will conquer the wild — or not — to find love.” Love In The Wild, which will head to a new tropical location for Season 2, features single men and women who take part in challenges and quests while also looking for a mate.
A&E has renewed its flagship drama series The Glades for a third season, which will launch next summer. The news comes a month after the cop series starring Matt Passmore ended its second season, which averaged 3.9 million viewers, 1.55 million of them in the 18-49 demographic and 1.74 million in adults 25-54. In 18-49, The Glades was up 12% from Season 1. With the renewal, A&E will have three original series on tap for next year: The Glades; Breakout Kings, which will return for a second season; and the recently picked up newcomer Longmire. The Glades is produced by Fox TV Studios and executive produced by creator Clifton Campbell and Gary Randall.
The Gordon Ramsay supremacy at Fox continues. The network has ordered a third season of MasterChef, one of four reality series the foul-mouthed British chef has on the network. Ramsay will return to the judging panel of the culinary competition along with his fellow judges: restaurateur Joe Bastianich (Del Posto, Eataly) and chef Graham Elliot (Graham Elliot, Grahamwich). Open casting calls in several cities begin October 29. In addition to MasterChef, Ramsay has Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and the upcoming Hotel Hell on Fox.
Starz has ordered a second 10-episode season of upcoming drama Boss ahead of the series’ October 21 premiere. A couple of years ago, the network did the same with its flagship series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Boss, from Lionsgate TV, stars Kelsey Grammer as a ruthless Chicago mayor who has a secret that threatens to topple him. Boss was created by feature writer Farhad Safinia (Apocalypto), with Gus Van Sant making his TV debut directing the first episode. Production on Season 2 is slated to begin in early 2012. Starz originally picked up Boss straight-to-series by Starz last year. “The first time we read Farhad’s script, we knew we had to make Boss,” the pay cable network’s president and CEO Chris Albrecht said. “With each episode, the story grew richer, and the cast continues to turn in breakthrough performances.” There has been buzz about former Frasier star Grammer’s performance, which has been compared to those of other sitcom leading men who have transitioned to playing dark characters on cable dramas like Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston and The Shield‘s Michael Chiklis. Co-starring opposite Grammer on Boss are Connie Nielsen, Jeff Hephner, Hannah Ware, Kathleen Robertson and Troy Garity. “It’s nice to get this vote of confidence,” Grammer said. “Good thinking, I love this show.” Grammer executive produces Boss with Safinia, Van Sant, Brian Sher, Stella Bulochnikov, Richard Levine and Lyn Greene. It is kind of ironic that Hephner is getting a …
UPDATED: Lifetime has picked up a fourth season of dramedy Drop Dead Diva with a 13-episode order. Along with Army Wives, the Sony TV-produced Diva has been a solid ratings performer for the network, most recently averaging 2.2 million viewers and a 0.7 in 18-49 this past Sunday.The third-season finale airs on Sunday. “Drop Dead Diva is a signature series for Lifetime that continues to resonate with audiences with its heart and humor,” Lifetime’s president and general manger Nancy Dubuc said. The series, starring Brooke Elliott as a plus-size attorney carrying the soul of a shallow model who died in an accident, was created by Josh Berman, who is executive producing with Craig Zadan, Neil Meron and Alex Taub.
Disney XD has renewed its top-rated original series Kickin’ It for a second season. Since its June 2011 premiere, the martial arts-themed sitcom accounts for the network’s top three live-action telecasts in kids 6-14, kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14. In addition, the July 25 episode ranked as Disney XD’s No. 1 live-action telecast ever in the boys demos. Production on Season 2 will start in December for a 2012 premiere. Kickin’ It, which follows a crew of lovable misfits determined to beat the odds at the Bobby Wasabi Martial Arts Academy, is created and executive produced by sitcom veteran Jim O’Doherty.
EXCLUSIVE: Style Network has renewed breakout reality hit Tia & Tamera for a second season. The docu-series starring twin sisters Tia and Tamera Mowry premiered Aug. 8, posting the network’s most-watched series launch in history with 750,000 viewers. The following week, the series shot up to 920,000 viewers to log Style’s most watched telecast ever. Production on the second season, which will chronicle Tia’s new role as a working mom and Tamera’s life as a newlywed, is slated to begin later this year. “We are excited to continue following Tia and Tamera’s journeys both personally and professionally,” Style president Salaam Coleman Smith said. “Being a part of their major life transformations, including the fun, dramatic and private moments, has resonated with our viewers who come to Style for the inspirational and aspirational stories.” After five weeks on the air, Tia & Tamera is tracking to become Style’s highest-rated series ever across all key demos, including adults 18-49 (490,000) and women 18-49 (410,000) as well as total viewers (755,00). The series’ eight-episode freshman season wraps Oct. 8. Tia & Tamera is produced by Good Clean Fun. Executive producers are Jason Carbone, Tia Mowry Hardrict and Tamera Mowry-Housley. The renewal gives Tia Mowry two hit cable series heading into Season 2 — she also stars on the BET sitcom The Game.
Spike TV has picked up unscripted series Bar Rescue for a second season with a 10-episode order. The series has grown in the ratings from its July premiere, which drew 742,000 viewers. This past Sunday’s telecast hit a series high of 1.3 million viewers. Production on Season 2 begins next winter for a summer 2012 premiere. Hosted by Jon Taffer, Bar Rescue helps failing night clubs get back on track. 3 Ball Prods./Eyeworks USA is producing.
Syfy has renewed freshman drama Alphas for a second season with a 13-episode order. The series, from BermanBraun, Universal Cable Prods. and writers Zak Penn and Michael Karnow, has been a solid ratings performer airing behind veteran Warehouse 13. Alphas, whose Season 2 will premiere in 2012, stars David Strathairn and follows a team of ordinary citizens who possess extraordinary and unusual mental skills. Penn is executive producing with showrunner Ira Steven Behr and BermanBraun’s Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein.
TruTV has ordered 13 additional episodes of its new reality series South Beach Tow, from Jennifer Lopez’s Nuyorican Prods and Bodega Pictures. In its first season-to-date, the series about the family-run Tremont Towing has averaged 1.6 million viewers; 834,000 adults 18-49. The summer finale of South Beach Tow airs tomorrow, while newly ordered episodes are slated to begin airing in early 2012.
Disney Channel has renewed sitcom Good Luck Charlie for a third season. Production is scheduled to resume in Los Angeles for a premiere in early 2012. The series, created by Phil Baker and Drew Vaupen, centers on the everyday adventures of the busy Duncan clan: working full-time parents Bob and Amy; their three teen kids PJ, Teddy and Gabe; and fast-growing toddler, Charlie. Bridgit Mendler, Jason Dolley, Leigh-Allyn Baker, Bradley Steven Perry, Mia Talerico and Eric Allan Kramer star on the show, which is exec produced by Baker, Vaupen and Dan Staley. The series also inspired the Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas! Disney Channel original movie set to premiere in December.
TNT has renewed its light caper drama Leverage for a fifth season with a 15-episode order. Season 5 will launch next summer. The series, starring Timothy Hutton as the leader of a gang of grifters, hackers and thieves out to settle scores against the rich and powerful, will wrap its summer run Aug. 28 and return with the conclusion of its fourth season in November.
Leverage is the latest TNT series to be renewed this summer following the recent pickups of Rizzoli & Isles, Falling Skies and Franklin & Bash. Men of a Certain Age has been canclled and there is still no word on Hawthorne and Memphis Beat. Leverage premiered in 2008 and has grown its audience each of its four seasons. This summer, it has averaged 4.8 million viewers, up 10% over Season 3, with 1.9 million adults 18-49 (+6%). Leverage is produced by Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment, with Dean Devlin and creators John Rogers and Chris Downey serving as executive producers.
Syfy To Renew ‘Warehouse 13′
UPDATE: As expected, Syfy has closed the deal to renew Warehouse 13 for a fourth season. In a far less dramatic fashion than the recent renewal/cancellation of Eureka, the cable network has given Warehouse 13 a 13-episode pickup to match its name. Warehouse 13 remains Syfy’s flagship scripted series, most recently drawing 2 million viewers in Live+Same Day. This summer, it was used to launch the cable network’s newest drama, Alphas.