EXCLUSIVE UPDATED: Drop Dead Diva lives! A month and a half after Lifetime cancelled the dramedy series, I’ve learned that the cable network has inked a deal with producer Sony Pictures TV to bring the show back for a fifth season. At the time of the cancellation, Lifetime insiders noted that that they were open to reconsidering the decision if Sony TV came up with a new financial model. After weeks of talks, I hear the two sides found a framework that made continuing Drop Dead Diva feasible for both of them.
The fifth-season pickup comes almost six months after Drop Dead Diva‘s fourth season wrapped its run on Lifetime. The dramedy, starring Brooke Elliott as a dead aspiring model trapped in the body of an intelligent, curvy lawyer, was one of two scripted series Nancy Dubuc inherited when she took over Lifetime in 2010, along with veteran drama Army Wives, which is underwent casting and creative changes heading into its seventh season. There had been speculation that Lifetime brass felt Drop Dead Diva did not quite fit into the network’s shift toward edgier fare with shows like The Client List, but ratings-wise Drop Dead Diva has been a solid performer since its July 2009 premiere, which drew 2.8 million viewers. Its most recent season averaged consistently over 2 million viewers in Live+Same Day. Additionally, Drop Dead Diva has developed a loyal fan base, which has been rallying in support of the show following its cancellation.
Drop Dead Diva, executive produced by creator Josh Berman, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, is the latest series to be resurrected after being cancelled in the last couple of years. Sony TV has done it three times before with CBS’ Unforgettable and FX’s Damages, Fox’s Breaking In, and Fox TV Studios accomplished it recently with AMC’s The Killing. Coming up on the network are the seventh season of Army Wives and second cycle of Client List, which premiere this month, and new dramedy Devious Maids, which will launch later this year.