PBS Renews 'Mercy Street' for Season 2

The Civil War-era drama premiered in January.
Courtesy of PBS

Days after saying farewell to Downton Abbey, PBS is making a big move about its future.

The network has renewed original series Mercy Street for a second season, it was announced Wednesday.

The series will return for a six-episode second season in 2017. The Civil War-era drama, which stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Josh Radnor, among others, marks PBS' first original drama in more than a decade. A co-production with Scott Free Productions and Lone Wolf Media, Mercy Street's executive producers include Ridley Scott, David W. Zucker, Lisa Q. Wolfinger and David Zabel.  

“We are thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response to Mercy Street and the return of high-quality American drama on PBS stations,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS' chief programming officer and general manager, general audience programming. “We’re looking forward to a second season offering more fascinating stories inspired by historical events. The effort from everyone involved, including the producers, directors, historical consultants, actors and PBS stations, resulted in an extraordinary series that exemplifies PBS’ world-class programming.”

Just one day after the series opened to 3.3 million viewers in January, PBS CEO Paula Kerger was bullish about renewal prospects for Mercy Street. "I think we've begun an important conversation," she said at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "We have very much left the door open for a season two, and we've done what we need to make sure that there could be a season two."

While Mercy Street has proven steady on Sundays, the drama is far from the hit Downton Abbey was for the network. The period drama on Sunday wrapped its six-season run on PBS, drawing an average of 9.6 million viewers several months after the series finale first aired in the U.K.