The deal includes a commitment from showrunner Jenji Kohan to remain at the helm of Netflix’s most-watched series through seasons five, six and seven. Season four of the Lionsgate TV-produced ensembler set in a woman’s prison bows June 17.
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“Three more years! Not quite a political term, but still plenty of time to do some interesting things. In some cultures, ‘May you lead an interesting life,’ is a curse, but I don’t live in those cultures,” said Kohan. “Here’s to keeping it interesting. Thanks Netflix! Both thanks and you’re welcome Lionsgate! And kudos and gratitude to the stellar cast and crew and writers and producers and editors and musicians and mixers and shleppers… with whom I have the pride and honor of crafting this show. Three more years! Three more years!”
The renewal comes on the heels of “OITNB’s” strong showing at Saturday’s SAG Awards, where the show took the comedy ensemble award for the second year in a row and the comedy actress trophy for star Uzo Abdua for the second straight year.
Netflix is famously tight-fisted when it comes to offering up viewership data about its original series. But execs with the streaming giant have repeatedly confirmed that “OITNB” is its most-watched original series. That has been backed up by the efforts of outside measurement companies to track viewing in the Netflix eco-system.
“Jenji and her team have produced a phenomenal and impactful series that is both funny and dramatic, outrageous and heartfelt. Audiences around the world have come to love the ladies and men of ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ and we are eager to see where three more seasons will take them,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix’s VP of original content.
Kohan’s commitment to the show for another three seasons is a significant investment for the seasoned writer-producer, who is much in demand by other outlets thanks to the groundbreaking work she’s achieved with “OITNB.”
“Jenji’s brilliant creative vision and a truly amazing cast have catapulted ‘Orange Is the New Black’ to the forefront of the platinum age of television, and we’re pleased that ‘Orange’ fans around the world will be rewarded with another three seasons,” said Lionsgate TV Group chairman Kevin Beggs.
With the renewal — the longest commitment for any TV series in recent memory — attention for Kohan and Lionsgate is likely to turn to setting new pacts with key members of the show’s sprawling ensemble. The core “OITNB” troupers for season four are Taylor Schilling, Uzo Aduba, Kate Mulgrew, Laura Prepon, Laverne Cox, Dascha Polanco, Danielle Brooks, Selenis Leyva, Samira Wiley, Taryn Manning, Yael Stone, Jackie Cruz, Lea DeLaria, Adrienne C. Moore and Elizabeth Rodriguez Michael Harney and Nick Sandow.