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Less than a month after announcing that the upcoming seventh season of Orange Is the New Black would be its final run, producers Lionsgate Television are already mulling how the prison dramedy can continue beyond that.
Lionsgate TV Group chairman Kevin Beggs on Thursday told reporters that the independent studio is mulling a potential sequel to the series created by Jenji Kohan and starring Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Uzo Aduba and Danielle Brooks.
“We’re really proud of the long run that Orange Is the New Black had,” the exec said during an earnings call. “It remains one of Netflix’s most-watched shows. We’re ending on a high note. Keep in mind we own that series and will be distributing it for years to come. We’re already in discussions and, when the timing is right, we’ll talk further with Jenji about a potential sequel.”
Sources close to Lionsgate TV say that the studio and Kohan have had ongoing discussions about a potential follow-up to Orange Is the New Black for some time, but cautioned nothing is immediately in the works.
Netflix, which has been the exclusive home for the series and where creator Kohan is under an overall deal, did not immediately respond to The Hollywood Reporter‘s request for comment. (The streaming giant licenses the series from Lionsgate TV.)
For her part, executive producer Tara Herrmann told The Hollywood Reporter after the season six finale that the Orange Is the New Black team has discussed spinoff ideas. Among them: a Broadway production, or following couples Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs) and Polly Harper (Maria Dizzia) or Cal and Carol Chapman (Deborah Rush), though she stopped short of saying a spinoff/sequel would be a good idea. Expanding Orange‘s world before it concludes feels too much like “robbing from the mothership,” she said. “We want people to pay attention to the show we’re making, not a musical number with Piper and Alex. But that could happen in the future — who knows!”
Orange Is the New Black, which is inspired by Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name, bowed to critical acclaim in 2013. The Emmy-winning series (alongside House of Cards) has been an important part of Netflix’s entry into the scripted originals space and has been a cash cow for Lionsgate TV. Kohan produced Orange Is the New Black for Lionsgate TV before moving her overall deal to Netflix. The series was the second mega-hit she created for Lionsgate, joining Showtime’s Weeds.
The final season of Orange Is the New Black is set to bow in 2019.
Sequels and spinoffs continue to remain in high demand as streamers, studios and networks alike look to continue proven hits with built-in audiences amid a crush of competition with more than 520 originals. HBO, for example, is developing multiple Game of Thrones offshoots as the premium cabler looks to keep its Emmy-winning franchise going after its final season in 2019.
Etan Vlessing contributed to this report.
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