Lifetime picks up 'Army Wives' for third season

Series gets an 18-episode order

Lifetime has picked up "Army Wives" for a third season with an 18-episode order.

The announcement, made Friday during the TV Critics Assn.'s summer press tour at the Beverly Hilton, comes only five weeks into the drama's second season, which also consists of 18 episodes. Season 3 is set to bow next year.

"Wives," from ABC Studios and the Mark Gordon Co., has set records for Lifetime since its premiere last summer. This season, the series ranks as ad-supported basic cable's No. 1 drama among Lifetime's key demos of women 18-49 and women 25-54.

Lifetime president and CEO Andrea Wong called the series a "game-changer" for the network.

"Announcing this early renewal is a testament to the enormous faith and confidence we have in this show and its incredibly talented cast and production team," Wong said.

"Wives," which airs at 10 p.m. Sundays, revolves around a group of women -- and one man -- living with their spouses and families on an active Army post. The cast includes Kim Delaney, Catherine Bell and Sally Pressman.

Said ABC Studios president Mark Pedowitz: "The show's strong cast and story lines, relevant to current culture, resonate with viewers. We expect the momentum to continue."

"Wives" is executive produced by Gordon, Deborah Spera, Nick Thiel and creator Katherine Fugate. The series is based on the book "Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Military Marriage" by Tanya Biank, who serves as a consultant.

During Lifetime's TCA session, senior vp reality programming Jessica Samet also gave a brief overview of some unscripted projects in the works at the network, including a Carson Kressley-hosted talk show; the culinary-themed "Cook Yourself Thin" and "Mom's Cooking"; a project starring Sean Combs' ex Kim Porter, mother to three of his children; "The Week the Women Went," a competition featuring fathers; and "Love & Salsa," a dance-themed project starring Mario Lopez.