7:00am PT by Michael O'Connell
Freeform Orders Another Kenya Barris Comedy, Renews 'Siren'
Freeform is adding another comedy from Kenya Barris and giving a sophomore renewal to drama Siren.
The cable network, piggybacking onto corporate sibling ABC's Tuesday upfront, announced the orders Tuesday morning after officially giving the go-ahead to Pretty Little Liars spinoff The Perfectionists the day before.
“In the past year, our commitment to quality has been reflected back to us with a rousing chorus of critical and fan acclaim,” said network president Tom Ascheim. “Our young adult audience is the most important and influential generation in America and we want to be right there with them every step of the way.” Adds Burke, “We like changing the narrative at Freeform and are proud that our original programming resonates so strongly with this audience. We are grateful to all of our series creators who share our focus on challenging the status quo and telling stories with meaning.”
The order of Barris' and Ranada Shephard's multicam sitcom Besties is a noteworthy one. The Black-ish creator, who recently put spinoff Grown-ish on Freeform, is said to have had a strained relationship with ABC and has been eyeing an exit from its sister studio for Netflix. (Besties is being done by ABC Signature Studios.) The comedy, from co-creator Ranada Shepard, explores friendship, identity, race and class as two best friends use one another to get through their challenges as they figure out who they want to be. The comedy is from ABC Signature Studios.
The renewal for Siren — which will expand to 16 episodes in season two — comes as little surprise. The mermaid drama has performed particularly well among young women.
Other news for Freeform included a deeper push into holiday programming, an area it excelled in back when it was ABC Family. The network plans to air over 1,000 hours of Christmas and Halloween programming later in 2018.