Showtime loves 'L Word' for Season 5

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"The L Word" will be back for a fifth season.

Showtime has ordered 12 new episodes of the drama series, set to begin production in the summer for an early 2008 debut. Deals are in place with the principal actors to return for Season 5.

"L Word," recently nominated for the GLAAD Media Award for outstanding drama series, premiered its fourth season Jan. 7, with new episodes airing at 10 p.m. Sundays. Season-to-date, the show is averaging 310,000 viewers per first-run episode (off slightly from Season 3's 370,000), though the network does give every episode multiple plays throughout the week and offers them on-demand.

Showtime Networks president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt said the launch of OurChart.com, a social networking site that grew directly out of the series, along with the "L Word" virtual 3-D world Second Life, have raised the show's profile.

" 'The L Word' is a signature franchise for us and one of our most popular series," he said. "This season's guest star Cybill Shepherd and new series regular Marlee Matlin are indicative of the show's great quality. ... Since its launch in 2004, the zeitgeist has never been the same."

"L Word," which centers on a group of lesbians in Los Angeles, is executive produced by Ilene Chaiken through her production company, Little Chicken Inc. The series was created by Chaiken and Kathy Greenberg & Michele Abbott and is being distributed internationally by MGM International Television Distribution Inc.
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