Lifetime is not moving forward with a second season of their drama series The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, which was a spin-off of the TV movie Lizzie Borden Took An Ax.
The Lizzie Borden Chronicles picks up following Lizzie’s acquittal of the murder of her father and stepmother in 1892. But when numerous people close to Lizzie – ranging from her half-brother to Broadway luminaries and the head of the criminal underworld — start to mysteriously die under brutal and strange circumstances, legendary Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo becomes determined to prove her guilt. The series is produced by Sony Pictures Television and stars Christinia Ricci, Clea DuVall, Cole Hause, John Heard and Andrew Howard.
Though billed as a limited series, Lifetime execs had been high on the project, which was initially known as Lizzie Borden: The Fall River Chronicles. After initially picking up the drama straight-to-series with a six episode order, the network increased the order to 8 episodes and had left the door open to producing a second season. Lifetime’s top brass, under Rob Sharnow, opted not to proceed with further episodes after the show failed to draw much attention, with an average audience of below 1 million viewers. The news was first reported by TVLine.
Miniseries and limited series which are commissioned with an eye to becoming long-running returning dramas often have a hard time making it past their initial orders. Other recent such limited series that never made it to a full series/second season include USA Network’s high-profile political drama Political Animals and Syfy’s period drama Ascension. In fact the last project that was successfully launched in this manner was Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica, which, following its six episode miniseries, returned for four full seasons.
The failure of The Lizzie Borden Chronicles highlights the problems that Lifetime has been having on the scripted programming front in recent years. Since Army Wives went off the air in 2013, the network has had a hard time launching a sustainable scripted drama series, with nearly all of their efforts – such as Witches Of East End, The Client List, The Protector and The Lottery – falling short. At present, the network only has one returning scripted series, Devious Maids, which is now airing its third season. It is not immediately clear freshman drama UnREAL will make it to a second season.