Fox, NBC and Netflix have each renewed one of their critically successful dramas in quick succession of one another.
NBC has issued an early renewal for its wildly successful crime thriller The Blacklist. Currently airing its third season, this renewal allows the show to qualify for syndication, assuming it retains a standard 22-episode season order. The news was announced on The Blacklist Exposed podcast by creator Jon Bokencamp (The Call, Perfect Stranger) who said, “We knew about that a while ago. It’s one of those things that’s hard to keep quiet. But yes, we’re renewed through the fourth season. Hopefully we don’t tank that out. We’ve got a lot of story to tell.”
One of NBC’s best performing programs, NBC describes the show in the following log line: “Former government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) has eluded capture for decades. But he suddenly surrenders to the FBI with an offer to help catch a terrorist under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone), a young FBI profiler who’s just barely out of Quantico.”
The Blacklist stars three-time Primetime Emmy Award winner James Spader (Boston Legal, The Office), Megan Boone (Welcome to the Jungle, My Bloody Valentine 3D), Diego Klattenhoff (Pacific Rim, After Earth), Ryan Eggold (Sons of Liberty, 90210), Harry Lennix (Dollhouse, Man of Steel), Amir Arison (Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, A Merry Friggin’ Christmas), Mozhan Marno (Traitor, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) and Hisham Tawfiq (Dead Man Down, Crazy Beats Strong Every Time).
Meanwhile, Fox has issued a very late renewal for its midseason drama Wayward Pines, which was originally billed as a miniseries. Executive produced by two-time Academy Award nominee M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs), the series is based on a trilogy of novels by Blake Crouch, the first of which, Pines, comprised the first five episodes of the first season and the latter two (Wayward and The Last Town) encompassed the final five episodes.
A fairly self-contained story, it’s pretty clear that Fox didn’t initially intend to renew the programme given that they allowed the casts’ contracts to expire. The second season will feature some returning players but also a host of new faces and a new showrunner, Mark Friedman (Believe, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb), who will take over from the show’s original developer Chad Hodge (The Playboy Club, Tru Calling).
Fox’s blurb for the first season describes the show as following secret service agent Ethan Burke, who “arrives in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, ID, on a mission to find two missing federal agents. But instead of answers, Ethan’s investigation only turns up more questions. What’s wrong with Wayward Pines? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the life he knew, from the husband and father he was, until he must face the terrifying reality that he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.” According to the network, “the second season will pick up in the wake of Season One, when a new arrival in Wayward Pines finds himself in the middle of a serious rebellion, as the residents battle over how to preserve the endangered human race.”
“Wayward Pines was a huge hit for us this past summer. We were absolutely blown away by the mysterious and surprising world that Night and his team created, and the twisting-and-turning storytelling that drew viewers in from day one,” said David Madden, the President of Entertainment at the Fox Network. “Season Two is going to take the suspense, the vision of the future and the haunting character drama to whole new levels, and we can’t wait for our fans to continue that ride next year.”
The first season of Wayward Pines starred Academy Award nominee Matt Dillon (Crash, There’s Something About Mary), Carla Gugino (Watchmen, San Andreas), Golden Globe Award nominee Toby Jones (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Reed Diamond (Dollhouse, Good Night and Good Luck), Tim Griffin (The Gift, The Collection), Charlie Tahan (I Am Legend, Charlie St. Cloud), Academy Award nominee Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers, From Dusk Till Dawn), Academy Award winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Olympus Has Fallen) and Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (Iron Man, Empire). It remains to be seen which actors will reprise their roles, and new additions to the cast have yet to be announced.
Finally, Netflix has renewed its dramedy Grace and Frankie, which follows two elderly women who find themselves confiding in each other after they discover that their husbands have been having an affair with each other for twenty years. This is a pretty big show of confidence in the series given that the second season (scheduled to air in 2016) doesn’t even have a proper premiere date yet.
Created by Primetime Emmy Award winner Marta Kauffman (Friends, Joey) and Primetime Emmy Award nominee Howard J. Morris (Home Improvement, According to Jim), Grace and Frankie stars two-time Academy Award winner Jane Fonda (Coming Home, The Newsroom), Academy Award nominee Lily Tomlin (Nashville, The West Wing), Academy Award nominee Sam Waterston (The Newsroom, Law and Order), Golden Globe Award winner Martin Sheen (The West Wing, Apocalypse Now), Brooklyn Decker (Battleship, Just Go With It), Ethan Embry (Eagle Eye, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle), June Diane Raphael (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, New Girl) and Baron Vaughn (Cloverfield, Black Dynamite).