Lifetime has announced that season six of their popular Army Wives series will debut on Sunday, March 4th. It’s been speculated that this will be the final season of the TV show but the cable channel hasn’t officially announced this — but there’s plenty of time. Given its size, it seems likely that Lifetime will split season six into two mini-seasons.
Last November, Lifetime made headlines when they ordered 10 additional episodes for season six, bringing the total to 23 installments. This represents the show’s biggest season to date. The cast and crew were still in production on the original episodes so it was a way to keep them in continuous production — and keep costs down.
The original Army Wives actors are only under contract through season six. By essentially ordering a seventh season and tacking it onto season six, the cable channel didn’t have to renegotiate contracts or worry about losing any performers to more lucrative offers. For the actors, the move meant that they’d miss the opportunity to audition for the networks’ pilot season.
Here’s the press release regarding the March 4th return:
LIFETIME’S HIT DRAMA “ARMY WIVES” AND AWARD-WINNING “COMING HOME” TO RETURN MARCH 4, 2012
Susan Lucci to Guest Star in Sixth Season of Army Wives
New Episodes of Coming Home Feature Surprise Appearances by Clint Black, Elmo and The Oakland Raiders
NEW YORK, NY, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 – Army Wives, Lifetime’s most successful series in the network’s history, will return for its sixth season with all-new episodes beginning Sunday, March 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Immediately following at 10pm ET/PT will be new episodes of Coming Home, Lifetime’s award-winning docu-series featuring U.S. armed forces service members’ surprise family reunions.
Army Wives follows the struggles, dreams and friendships of a diverse group of women – and one man – living with their spouses and families on an active army post. The series stars Kim Delaney, Sally Pressman, Brigid Brannagh, Brian McNamara, Sterling K. Brown, Wendy Davis, Drew Fuller, Terry Serpico and Catherine Bell. Television icon Susan Lucci (All My Children) is set to make several special guest star appearances this season as Audrey, the wife of a retired Brigadier General, reuniting her with her former All My Children co-star Delaney.
The sixth season of Army Wives will see significant changes to the tribe. As they prepare to leave the recently decommissioned Fort Marshall and go their separate ways, one of them will be bidding a final farewell. In the season premiere, Roxy (Pressman) is having a hard time adjusting to the idea of moving away from her close knit group of friends, especially Pamela (Brannagh), while Michael (McNamara) and Claudia Joy (Delaney) face a tough decision about their future. Despite the turmoil, Denise (Bell) and Frank (Serpico) are planning a party for Molly’s first birthday, which may be the last time the group gathers to celebrate a milestone. But when Joan (Davis) gets word of a potentially deadly event that will descend on Fort Marshall, the tribe must band together yet again and prepare for their lives to change in an instant.
Season five of Army Wives was 2011’s number one program in its Sunday 9 p.m. time period on basic cable among Women. Additionally, Army Wives grew its audience by 11 percent among Total Viewers and 14 percent among Women 18-49 versus the prior season. Army Wives is produced by ABC Studios for Lifetime. Mark Gordon and Jeff Melvoin serve as executive producers. The series is based on the book Army Wives: The Unwritten Code of Military Marriage by Tanya Biank, who serves as a consultant.
Coming Home follows the unforgettable and inspiring surprise reunions of members of all five branches of the military with their spouses, children, parents and other loved ones as they return home from active duty throughout the world. Hosted by former American Idol finalist Matt Rogers, each episode highlights multiple reunions featuring service members and their emotional stories.
Upcoming episodes of Coming Home feature more dramatic and emotional surprise reunions and a number of special guest appearances including Grammy(R) Award-winning country music star Clint Black, who helps two adorable kids write a song about their Army captain father who just returned from Afghanistan and is hiding in the next room. Sesame Street’s very own Elmo and Rosita travel all the way to Fort Bliss, Texas, to put together a once-in-a-lifetime surprise for the children of an Army sergeant who are having an especially hard time with their father’s deployment in Iraq. And the NFL’s Oakland Raiders also join in on one of the season’s biggest moments when they help surprise the children of a lifelong Oakland Raiders fan who hasn’t seen his family in over a year when he suits up in the infamous Silver and Black to make a stunning appearance mid-field during halftime at a game in front of a stadium full of Raider Nation fans.
Last year’s premiere of Coming Home had triple digit year-to-date time period growth, becoming Lifetime’s number one homegrown un-scripted series launch ever across all key demographics. Last year the series was awarded a 2011 Innovator Award by the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) for outstanding achievement in nonscripted programming, showcasing extraordinary passion and leadership in new, innovative and productive ways. Coming Home is produced by RelativityREAL, LLC with Tom Forman (creator of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) and David Metzler (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) serving as executive producers.
ABOUT ABC STUDIOS
ABC Studios, part of ABC Entertainment Group, is a leader in the development, production and strategic distribution of entertainment content across television and emerging digital platforms. As a key content driver for the Disney/ABC Television Group, the studio has produced multiple seasons of primetime series, such as “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Castle,” “Brothers and Sisters,” “Private Practice,” “Army Wives” and “Criminal Minds,” which have fed the company’s distribution pipelines worldwide with programming and related product lines.
During fall 2011 (September launch through November), ABC Studios claimed TV’s Top 2 new drama series debuts among Adults 18-49 with “Once Upon a Time” (on 10/23/11) and “Revenge” (on 9/21/11), respectively. In fact, “Once Upon a Time” opened as television’s biggest drama debut in 2 years with young adults. ABC Studios placed three of the Top 15 primetime shows among AD18-49 with “Grey’s,” “Criminal Minds” and “Once Upon a Time.” Further, “Grey’s” stood as the fall’s no. 1 drama among the key Adult demo.
Under the leadership of award-winning producer Tom Forman, RelativityREAL has created and produced dozens of series and pilots for network and cable television. Though it was formed less than 3 years ago, the division has 67 projects in production, including 17 original series that are currently airing or will air in the upcoming television season including “Police Women” for TLC, “Coming Home” for Lifetime, and “The Great Food Truck Race” for Food Network.
Lifetime Television is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families. Lifetime Television(R), LMN(R), Lifetime Real Women(R) and Lifetime Digital(TM) are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group, Hearst Corporation and NBC Universal.
What do you think? Do you think season six should be the last? Should it be split into two parts?
Image courtesy Lifetime.