More than two months after Devious Maids finished airing its second season, the mystery comedy-drama has been picked up by Lifetime for a 13-episode third season. Why did it take so long? In addition to the usual license fee haggling between a network and a studio (Devious Maids hails from ABC Studios), there was another issue that held up the renewal — creator/executive producer Marc Cherry’s reluctance to continue as a full-time showrunner. Cherry has been open about it. “The time is coming to a close on my day-to-day showrunning,” he told Deadline earlier this summer. “I’m just getting old. I just had my 52nd birthday.” To alleviate his workload, veteran showrunner Ric Swartzlander who, like Cherry, comes from a comedy background, has been brought in as executive producer/co-showrunner, and Brian Tanen, who has been on Devious Maids since the beginning as producer/supervising producer and also worked for Cherry on Desperate Housewives, will also serve as co-showrunner. They will co-run the show with Cherry, who will remain as executive producer/showrunner. Keeping Cherry and his voice on the show had been crucial to Lifetime for renewing the series.
Ratings-wise, Devious Maids has earned a renewal. Its second season premiere in April was on par with its series debut in total viewers (2 million) and climbed 15% in 18-49. It didn’t experience the ratings upswing of the dramedy’s freshman season, which grew to 3 million in the finale, but has averaged a healthy 1.8 million viewers in Live+same day. Compare that to the 700,000 for new Lifetime drama The Lottery, which is not expected to come back.
Created by Marc Cherry inspired by a telenovela, Devious Maids stars Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramírez, Roselyn Sánchez, Edy Ganem, Judy Reyes, Rebecca Wisocky and Susan Lucci. Cherry executive produces with Eva Longoria, Swartzlander, Sabrina Wind, Larry Shuman, David Lonner, John Mass and Televisa USA’s Paul Presburger and Michael Garcia. Tanen’s credit is being negotiated.
As for what Cherry plans to do in his spare time, “There’s some exciting talent out there I would like to supervise,” he told Deadline. I’m eyeing other opportunities. People know I’m interested in theater and I’m getting calls from New York, and there are screenplay opportunities.” But he was clear, “As long as Devious is going, I want to be a part of it. We are the little show that could.”