With all the NBC cancellation news, it’s nice to see a show get some good news from their respective network. It has been announced that the Jessica Biel-produced drama, Cruel Summer, has been renewed at Freeform for a second season.
Cruel Summer has also now become the younger-skewing cabler’s most-watched series ever. If you’re wondering, what about Pretty Little Liars? Well, Freeform was formerly ABC Family & since the rebrand, Freeform hadn’t found their signature hit…until now. Freeform President Tara Duncan spoke to why the show was successful and why it was an “easy” decision to renew the series:
“I think what has really resonated with audiences is that there’s a very clear, strong mystery, but a mystery that’s told from the point of view of two characters that people can really relate to. That central conceit of ‘is the grass always greener on the other side?’ and that perspective of ‘who do you believe Jeanette or Kate?’ and that the story should shift depending on whose shoes you stand in, I just think is one that is really relatable for this audience. The idea of an unravelling mystery that’s told week over week is one that the audience has obviously responded to”
Cruel Summer was picked up to series a year and a half ago under then-Freeform president Tom Ascheim and it stars Olivia Holt, Chiara Aurelia, Michael Landes, Froy Gutierrez, Harley Quinn Smith, Allius Barnes, Blake Lee, and Brooklyn Sudano. The series follows two teenage girls in the 1990s and the repercussions on everyone’s lives after one is kidnapped and the other seemingly takes her place. How the show will return is a bit of a tricky idea. The anthology format appears to be the ideal direction but it is undecided if the mystery will return with a new story with the same characters and actors or using the same storytelling device featuring a whole new cast of characters.
The show has been a hit with critics, scoring a 90% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and it has held well in the ratings. With 35 days of multiplatform viewing, Cruel Summer averages 6.8 million total viewers per day. It ranks as the No. 1 new cable drama of the year among women 18-34, with its most recent episode surging 31 percent above its April series debut. The series also has been a strong performer on Hulu, where all of Freeform’s originals are available to stream the day after linear debuts. The series was the most-watched next-day season one title from a linear channel in its first seven weeks to date on the Disney-owned platform. Season 1 of the series wrapped up last night on Freeform and executive producers Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple of Iron Ocean Productions also chimed in on the show returning for a second season:
“We are so proud of this show and the incredible cast and crew who brought so much hard work and grit to every single scene. This wouldn’t have been possible without them and our mastermind showrunner, Tia Napolitano. To be picked up for a second season is a dream and we have so many ideas for where we can take this next. We are excited to get to work with our brilliant team of creatives on this project in addition to our partners at Freeform and eOne, including Jackie Sacerio who brought the project to us. To the audiences who have been tuning into this show week in and week out, thank you. This is all for you!”
Now that the show has officially been renewed, I’ll be adding it to my binge list because I’ve heard nothing but good things about the show. Have YOU been watching Cruel Summer?