11:00am PT by Kate Stanhope
'UnREAL' and 'Mary Kills People' Renewed at Lifetime
Lifetime is giving UnREAL another rose.
The Bachelor-inspired drama has been renewed for a fourth season, while assisted-suicide drama Mary Kills People has been picked up for a second season, it was announced Friday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
Additionally, the A+E Networks channel has greenlighted a biopic about Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles.
The renewal for UnREAL comes months ahead of the show's season-three return. After an acclaimed first season that earned co-creators Sarah Gertrude Shapiro and Marti Noxon an Emmy nomination for writing, the second season proved critically divisive, and Stacy Rukeyser was named showrunner for season three.
While UnREAL had normally been a summer series for the cabler, paired with the since-canceled Devious Maids, the channel announced in June that season three would be pushed back to early 2018.
"I know we have gotten used to it being a summer show, but I think in the long run it's actually much better for our show," star Constance Zimmer, who earned an Emmy nomination for her role in season one, told The Hollywood Reporter in June about the delay. The actress also praised Rukeyser and said she "did an incredible job" on the upcoming season. "We all know what we want the show to be, and it's about who can step up and protect it, and Stacy is there to protect it," she added.
While UnREAL pulls a small viewership on Lifetime, the buzz surrounding the series has helped the cabler push into more noisy fare like the upcoming Greg Berlanti psychological thriller You, starring Penn Badgley, that starts production in August. (Lifetime is hoping to pair the two on air.)
A+E Studios produces UnREAL, along with executive producers Rukeyser, Shapiro, Robert M. Sertner, Sally DeSipio, Peter O'Fallon and David Solomon.
Lifetime's season-two pickup for Mary Kills People comes nearly two months after the drama was renewed for a six-episode second season by Canadian broadcaster Global. The series first aired in Canada in January before making its U.S. debut on Lifetime in April after the cabler came onboard as a co-producer in late 2016.
Caroline Dhavernas (Hannibal) stars on the series as Mary Harris, an ER doctor by day, but by night, she and her partner help terminally ill patients die on their own terms. Tassie Cameron (Rookie Blue) serves as showrunner and exec produces with creator Tara Armstrong, Amy Cameron, Jocelyn Hamilton and Tecca Crosby. Entertainment One and Cameron Pictures produce the series in association with Corus Entertainment.
Also set to launch in early 2018 is the Biles biopic based on her book, Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance. The movie will follow the gymnast through the years of sacrifice and hard work that led her to winning 19 Olympic and World Championship medals. At the 2016 Summer Games, she became a member of the "Final Five" U.S. Women's Gymnastics team. Kelly Fullerton will write The Simone Biles Story (working title), with Biles, Howard Braunstein, Janey Miller and Kyell Thomas attached to exec produce.
"It's an exciting time for all women when a female-directed movie, featuring a female superhero, tops the summer box office," Lifetime head of programming Liz Gateley said in reference to the Patty Jenkins-helmed blockbuster film Wonder Woman. "In television, Lifetime is the top-tier destination for hiring female writers, directors and producers, and we continue to celebrate the everyday, real-life heroes in our programming."