Orange Is The New Black was canceled, but the series might live on with a spin-off, Lionsgate said Thursday.
During an earnings call, Lionsgate TV Group chairman Kevin Beggs hinted at a sequel series. The studio has already been in contact with series creator Jenji Kohan about it.
"We're really proud of the long run that Orange Is the New Black had," Beggs told reporters, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "It remains one of Netflix's most-watched shows. We're ending on a high note. Keep in mind we own that series and will be distributing it for years to come. We're already in discussions and, when the timing is right, we'll talk further with Jenji about a potential sequel."
Sources close to the studio said the talks have been ongoing, but nothing has been set in stone. Kohan does have an overall deal, but it is with Netflix, where she is one of the executive producers on GLOW, not with Lionsgate TV. Netflix is the exclusive streaming home for Orange Is The New Black, but the streamer licenses it from the studio.
Executive producer Tara Herrmann told The Hollywood Reporter in July that the OITNB writers have talked about spin-off ideas after season six, including shows centering on Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs) and Polly Harper (Maria Dizzia) or Cal and Carol Chapman (Deborah Rush). Even a Broadway musical was on the table.
However, she would not endorse a spin-off starting before the main series is over, since it would be like "robbing from the mothership."
"We want people to pay attention to the show we’re making, not a musical number with Piper and Alex. But that could happen in the future, who knows," she said.
Orange Is The New Black is loosely based on the memoir by Piper Kerman, with Taylor Schilling starring as Piper Chapman. The series debuted in 2013 and earned Uzo Aduba two Emmys for her role as Crazy Eyes. It was one of Netflix's first big streaming hits, alongside House of Cards, which is also ending.
Netflix announced that Orange Is The New Black will be ending with its seventh season, which will be released in 2019. The cast made the announcement with an emotional video.
"I'm going to miss playing and living on the edge of one of the groundbreaking, original and controversial series of this decade," Kate Mulgrew, who stars as Red, said in the clip.
Aduba added, "I'm so grateful for the fun times, the knowledge, the friendships, the love, the family that we have created together."
"But the one thing is, our relationships will continue after the show," chimed in Laura Prepon, who plays Alex.
"I'm going to miss the hell out of this TV show," said Natasha Lyonne, who AKA Nicky Nichols. "I love you."
The sixth season of OITNB was released in July and surprisingly ended with Piper being released from prison. However, many of the fan-favorite characters who populated Litchfield are still there and could be at the center of any potential new series.
Photo credit: Netflix