Lifetime re-enlists ‘Army Wives’

Networks renews show for second season

Gung-ho on the summer smash, Lifetime has tapped “Army Wives” for a second tour of duty.

The cabler will announce the renewal Thursday during its portion of the TV Critics Assn. summer press tour. “Army Wives” has truly lived up to the old military marketing mantra “Be all that you can be,” exceeding expectations to become the top-rated original show in the cabler’s 23-year history.

The second 13-episode batch of “Army Wives” is set to for deployment on the net next spring. Show will also continue shooting in South Carolina, which opted to keep several rebates in place in order to keep producers ABC Studios and the Mark Gordon Co. from moving the production elsewhere.

The success of “Army Wives” has helped jumpstart the ratings recovery at Lifetime, which has seen its fortunes diminish as its original scripted series faded away and none of its newer entries stuck around. “Army Wives” has averaged 3.6 million viewers, and it’s the top new cable drama this year in key women demos.

Boffo perf for “Army Wives” bodes well for the net’s next two launches, “Side Order of Life” and “State of Mind,” both of which will air next to “Wives” on Sunday night beginning July 15.

Katherine Fugate created “Army Wives,” which is based on the Tanya Biank book “Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives.” Mark Gordon exec produces with Fugate, Jeff Melvoin and Deborah Spera.

Show stars Kim Delaney, Sally Pressman, Brigid Brannagh, Brian McNamara, Sterling K. Brown, Wendy Davis, Drew Fuller and Catherine Bell.

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