Lifetime hasn’t renewed Army Wives for a seventh season but has instead ordered 10 additional episodes for season six. The cable channel initially ordered 13 episodes last May and has now increased that number to 23 installments. Prior to this, the drama’s biggest season order has been 19 episodes.
According to Deadline, the cast and crew are currently filming the sixth season and this move will keep them in continuous production. Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva are the cable channel’s strongest shows and they understandably want to keep them going until they can launch other successful series. Last summer’s new dramas — The Protector and Against The Wall — weren’t big performers. One was cancelled and the other hasn’t been renewed yet.
The original Army Wives actors’ salaries expire at the end of the sixth season. By tacking on additional episodes, Lifetime doesn’t have to renegotiate with them to get more installments. The cable channel is supposedly offering each of the leads an increase of $10,000 per episode, far less than what they’d get if their contracts were renegotiated. The longer season will likely be broken up into two parts.
The cast and crew were expected to wrap season six by February which would have allowed the actors time to audition for new pilots. With Lifetime ordering 10 more episodes, pilot season will be long passed by the time they’re available. Sally Pressman has a holding deal with NBC that will have to be pushed back and Catherine Bell had been fielding offers from networks for new pilots.
It’s been suspected that season six is the show’s last. If that’s indeed true, Lifetime is getting as many episodes as they can out of the cast without having to renegotiate and increase their talent costs.
Image courtesy Lifetime.