February 13, 2014 9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Lifetime's 'Drop Dead Diva' to End After Sixth Season (Exclusive)
Lifetime is plotting the end for Drop Dead Diva.
The upcoming sixth season of the drama from Josh Berman (Bones, CSI) will be its last, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The Brooke Elliott-starrer about an aspiring model killed in a car crash and brought to life as a lawyer will kick off its final season with a two-hour premiere event on Sunday, March 23 at 9 p.m. Co-star Margaret Cho will be joined by a roster of guest stars for the final run, including Rick Springfield, S. Epatha Merkerson, John Ratzenberger, Corbin Bleu, Colin Egglesfield, Virginia Williams and Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts.
Produced by Sony Pictures Television, Drop Dead Diva was canceled after efforts to cut costs in its fifth season stalled. The series was reincarnated three months later when the studio and Lifetime came to terms on a new, cost-effective financial model for the soapy drama to continue. It went on to earn a 13-episode renewal for a sixth season. During that span, Berman created and ran Fox's The Mob Doctor, which was canceled after one season in 2012-13.
In its fifth season, Drop Dead Diva averaged 1.99 million total viewers, down from season four's 2.3 million and off considerably from season one's 2.84 million average.
During its run, the series has won multiple GLAAD Awards as well as the Gracie Award for Individual Achievement by a female rising star for Elliott. Last month, she was nominated for another GLAAD Award in the individual episodic category. The series has also picked up nominations for Prism Awards, NAACP Image Awards and was a contender for the Humanitas Prize.
Cho, meanwhile, has already booked her next gig with a co-starring role in Fox's Tina Fey comedy Cabott College.
For Lifetime, the decision to end Drop Dead Diva comes five months after the female-skewing cable network opted to cancel its longest-running drama, Army Wives, after seven seasons. The cabler will bow a two-hour retrospective -- Army Wives: A Final Salute -- on Sunday, March 16 at 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, the network has already begun ramping up its originals, picking up two new drams to series: Marti Noxon's Un-Real and dystopian thriller The Lottery. Those two will join Marc Cherry's Devious Maids and Witches of East End on the network's scripted roster. Lifetime currently has one pilot in the mix -- Nicholas Sparks' Deliverance Creek, which will air as a two-hour backdoor pilot. Alicia Silverstone-starrer HR will not move forward.