Steven Soderbergh's 'The Girlfriend Experience' Renewed for Second Season at Starz (Exclusive)

The Girlfriend Experience still 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Starz is making a return trip to The Girlfriend Experience.

The premium cable network has renewed its Steven Soderbergh anthology drama for a second season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The freshman season was inspired by Soderbergh's film of the same name. The freshman season, consisting of 13 half-hour episodes, explored the relationships of the most exclusive courtesans who provide their clients with far more than just sex. These purveyors — or GFEs (girlfriend experience) — shared intimacies more common to actual romantic partners, becoming quasi-lovers and confidants who are richly compensated for their time and skill.

Riley Keough starred in the critically acclaimed first season, which wrapped its run in June and averaged 238,000 total viewers but was released in its entirety via Starz On Demand at the top of its linear season. THR chief TV critic Tim Goodman called the series — with every episode written and directed by Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz — a "solid, dark drama with lofty artistic ambitions."

Soderbergh will return as an exec producer alongside Philip Fleishman, Kerrigan, Seimetz, Jeff Cuban, Andrew Fierberg and Adele Romanski. Kerrigan and Seimetz will again serve as showrunners, writers and directors for the 14-episode second season, which will focus on entirely new characters and plotlines.

"The first season of The Girlfriend Experience allowed us to accommodate all viewing appetites with the traditional weekly episodic premiere schedule, as well as a binging option for the entire 13-episodes,” Starz managing director Carmi Zlotnik said. “We’re excited to offer Starz subscribers a second season that will explore new GFEs, clients and relationships as we take viewers back into this world that questions the price of intimacy and its emotional consequences.”  

The Girlfriend Experience renewal comes as Starz recently shifted its originals from Saturdays to Sundays in a bid to be a larger part of the critical conversation. It's part of a scripted lineup that also includes Outlander, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Power, Survivor's Remorse, American Gods, The One Percent, Blunt Talk, as well as the recently announced fourth and final season of Black Sails, due next year.

For Soderbergh, the news comes as the future of the prolific producer's Cinemax drama The Knick remains up in the air and as he is prepping Western Godless, a limited series, for Netflix.