Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

While not spectacular, the ratings for ABC’s freshman soap Revenge are solid enough to warrant a renewal, especially given the show’s strong fan base and critical praise. But while hopeful that there will be as second season, the series’ creator/executive producer Mike Kelley is not taking any chances. “We’re going to end things with a cliffhanger,” he said at a PaleyFest panel this afternoon. “If we’re lucky enough to get a second season, we’ll be teasing another giant event that will be resolved in some way midway through the season, followed by the aftermath of that.” In the vein of The Count Of Monte Cristo, Revenge stars Emily VanCamp as a woman returning to the Hamptons to avenge the betrayal of her father years before. The major incident so far this season was the murder of the scheming Tyler Barrol (Ashton Holmes), revealed in a momentous February episode, with rich boy Daniel Grayson (Josh Bowman) accused of the  crime. “From here this season, we’ll be setting up new alliances and new incidents,” Kelley said. “But what we set out to do as we move toward the finale is provide solutions to everything we’ve set up. Because while we’re hoping for that second season, it’s not a guarantee, and we want to make sure we satisfy everyone who put their time and care into this show.”

Besides Kelley, VanCamp and Bowman, the 11-person panel attending the Revenge event included the series’ other members who appeared happy to be there and still standing, since, as Ashley Madekwe put it, “All of us think we’re dying.” VanCamp offered her theory for why the series with high body count has been successful thus far. “People want to see a takedown of the rich,” she said. Kelley believes the secret has been a combination of great writing and VanCamp’s ability to come across as sweet and likeable while doling out revenge. “We could have gotten some dark ass-kicker (for the role), but instead we got this lovely young woman whom you instantly like,” he said. I certainly do.” At that moment, Kelley noticed that co-star Madeleine Stowe, sitting to his left, was feeling neglected. “I feel the same way about you,” he told the actress who plays the powerful matriarch of the Grayson family. “But not every day,” shot back Stowe. “Well, at least it’s mutual,” Kelley said.