Lifetime Television last week cancelled one of its signature series, The Division, but will make Strong Medicine the longest-running original drama in basic-cable history.
The Division ends its run after four years of anchoring the network’s Sunday-night lineup along with Strong Medicine.
A Lifetime spokesman said the The Division, which stars Nancy McKeon and Bonnie Bedelia, had “run its course.” But falling ratings for the police drama also contributed to its cancellation. The show finished its final season with a 2.0 household rating average, according to Nielsen Media Research, down from a 2.4 during its third season.
“For four years, The Division was a popular, critically acclaimed drama series, which comprised a key part of our Sunday night lineup,” the network said. “It was time to offer our viewers another option.”
Lifetime said it is considering several shows to help fill the void left by The Division, but the spokesman would not provide specific details.
While The Division is ending its run on Lifetime, the distaff network said it will renew its popular medical series Strong Medicine for a sixth season. With the order of an additional 22 installments, the skein will reach the 132-episode mark, making it the longest-running original drama ever created for basic cable. Strong Medicine, starring Patricia Richardson and Rosa Blasi, is averaging a 2.2 rating this season through the first seven shows of its 22-episode season run, off from a 2.3 last year.
“Strong Medicine has become one of television’s top dramas by depicting the personal and professional lives of empowered women physicians making life and death decisions,” said Lifetime senior vice president of programming Kelly Goode in a statement. “We’re delighted this outstanding series, boasting top-flight talent both in front and behind the cameras, is returning for another season on Lifetime.”
The network also added five additional episodes to its sophomore series Missing, bringing its season total to 18. The skein, which revamped much of its cast from the first season and stars Vivica A. Fox and Caterina Scorsone, is averaging a 1.9 rating after four episodes, slightly below last year’s 2.0 rating, according to Nielsen.