Breakout hit thriller 'Cruel Summer' will return for a second season

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Breakout hit thriller 'Cruel Summer' will return for a second season
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Cruel Summer finale
Chiara Aurelia and Olivia Holt in images from the "Cruel Summer" season finale. Freeform/Bill Matlock
  • Freeform just renewed "Cruel Summer" for a second season.

  • It follows two teen girls: one who was kidnapped, and another accused of seeing her in captivity.

  • The network says "Cruel Summer" is its most-watched series ever.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The hit psychological thriller "Cruel Summer" will return for a second season on Freeform, the network announced today.

The ambitious drama, told using multiple timelines and shifting perspectives, stars Olivia Holt as Kate Wallis, a teenager in Skylin, Texas, who is groomed, kidnapped, and sexually assaulted by the vice principal of her school, Martin Harris (Blake Lee), over the course of several months from 1993 to 1994. During Kate's captivity, fellow Skylin High student Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) goes from being an awkward teenager in 1993 to the most popular girl in school in 1994 - and later, to one of the most hated people in the country, after Kate is rescued and claims Jeanette saw her while she was captive and did nothing to help.

A compelling mystery unfolds from Kate's and Jeanette's perspectives over the course of three years, challenging viewers to redefine our definitions of "villain" and "victim."

Fans have been enthralled with figuring out all of the twists and turns since "Cruel Summer" first premiered, and it was a no-brainer for Freeform to renew the drama - according to a press release announcing the renewal, the show currently ranks as the number one new cable drama among women ages 18-34 and is the most-watched new show next day on Hulu.

"Cruel Summer," which is executive-produced by Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple, debuted its first episode on April 20. Bert V. Royal is the series creator and Tia Napolitano is its showrunner.

"Renewing 'Cruel Summer' for a season 2 was an easy decision," Freeform president Tara Duncan said in a statement. "It's the biggest series debut in Freeform's history, and the audience response has been overwhelming. Jessica, Michelle, and Tia did a phenomenal job telling an addictive story that's tapped into the cultural zeitgeist. I'm excited to see where they take the series next."

"Collaborating with Iron Ocean, our dedicated crew, charismatic cast, and our partners at Freeform and eOne has been the best first showrunning experience I could ask for. I am beyond grateful and excited by the amazing fan response to our show! Continuing to bottle 'Cruel Summer' magic for a season 2 is an absolute dream come true," Napolitano said in a statement.

Viewers are hoping to finally get answers - including whether Jeanette actually saw Kate in Martin Harris's house, despite her insistence she didn't, and who Annabelle is - on the season finale airing Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.

In an interview on Monday, Napolitano told Insider that while she hopes viewers get some closure from watching Kate and Jeanette finally face off in court, the path she and her team will take for season two is, as of now, "a big question mark."

"We're so excited that we get the opportunity to have a season 2. What it is? That work is still ahead of us," she said.

"Cruel Summer" also stars Harley Quinn Smith, Froy Gutierrez, Allius Barnes, Michael Landes, and Brooklyn Sudano.

Read the original article on Insider