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The series from exec producer Greg Berlanti will become a Netflix original series for its previously announced sophomore season after basic cable network Lifetime opted against airing another cycle of the Penn Badgley stalker drama.
Picked up to series in April 2017, the thriller is based on Caroline Kepnes’ best-selling novel of the same name and completed its first-season run in November, with a live-same-day viewership average of 611,000 total viewers. The lackluster ratings, paired with the fact that Lifetime did not own the Warner Horizon Scripted Television-produced drama, made a second season unsustainable for the cable network.
“Lifetime had an incredible experience working with Greg Bertlanti, [showrunner] Sera Gamble and the entire team on You for season one,” Lifetime said in a statement. “We wish the cast and crew the best as the series continues on at Netflix and can’t wait for the opportunity to work with the creative team again.”
The move arrives after Lifetime showed early faith in You and handed out a second-season renewal more than a month before its September premiere. (The renewal was spurred by the June news of You receiving funding from the California Film Commission.) Netflix also showed early faith in the series and in May, signed on for second-window rights in the U.S. as well as for its international first run. The streaming deal, which had been in the works for months, was part of a business model in which Netflix partners with U.S. studios and identifies series that air on other linear or digital networks early on in the process. (Other shows under the co-financing model include Syfy’s Nightflyers, NBC’s Good Girls and The CW’s Dynasty, among others.) The model helps to provide additional financial support for big-swing dramas — with You representing a bigger swing and rare studio buy than the typical scripted fare Lifetime picks up.
You becomes the second series to move from its original network to Netflix and joins Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which landed at the streamer with a two-season order after it was originally developed for The CW.
You season one was described as a 21st century love story about an obsessive yet brilliant 20-something named Joe (Badgley), who uses the hyper-connectivity of today’s technology to make the woman of his dreams (Elizabeth Lail) fall for him. Season two, which received an early tax credit to move production from New York to L.A., will follow Joe as his search for love takes him to Hollywood, where dreams can be made or shattered. Kepnes’ follow-up novel, Hidden Bodies, will be the focus of the sophomore run.
Berlanti Productions’ Sarah Schechter, Alloy’s Leslie Morgenstein, Gina Girolamo and Marcos Siega exec produce alongside Berlanti and Gamble.
As for Lifetime’s scripted plans, the A+E-owned cabler still has the Jenji Kohan-produced American Princess due in 2019 and will continue to ramp up its roster of scripted TV movies. The cable network this year ditched plans to air its onetime breakout hit UnREAL, as the fourth season of the drama moved to Hulu for what wound up as its final run. American Princess, unlike You, is a co-production with A+E Studios owning half of the series. That makes it more financially viable for the little-watched cabler.
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