Clare Sidoti Staff Writer
While ABC is yet to confirm that Revenge will be returning to our screens this autumn for a third season, news has come out this week that if it does, it will be without one of its key players.
On Monday (22 April) showrunner and executive producer Mike Kelley announced that he was leaving the show citing a “difficult mutual decision” between himself and the studio. In a statement, Kelley said that “Helming this series has been the ride of a lifetime, and my producing partner, Melissa Loy, and I will look back on our Revenge time with deep gratitude and respect for Emily [VanCamp] and Madeleine [Stowe] and the rest of the incredible cast, our heroic crew, the dedicated and imaginative producing and writing team, and the tireless post production department”. He also thanked ABC president Paul Lee, his marketing team, and the creative executives at ABC and ABCS “for their profound support throughout this journey”.
The current team are working on the season two finale and Kelley spoke of his excitement in finishing the episode and his hopes that it “will stand among the best episodes of the series thus far”. No doubt a fitting tribute to his work on the show. He also wished all involved with the project “continued success”.
Deadline reports that the split stems from creative differences between Kelley and the studio, particularly over the length of the series. Apparently since the beginning of production Kelley has been lobbying for shorter seasons. He felt that the drama was “much better suited for cable-style orders [generally 10-12 episodes a season] instead of the standard broadcast 22-episode seasons”.
Revenge was ABC’s breakout hit in the 2011-2012 season and was quickly moved to the high-profile Sunday 9pm slot though its ratings in its second season have been mixed and the episodes very hit and miss creatively. Like Lost, the other ABC hit before it, the introduction of an expanded universe, characters and a greater conspiracy plot seems to have provided hiccups for the writers. Deadline says that maintaining the quality of the first season appears to have taken a toll on all involved and that the tension this sometimes caused “ultimately [led] to Kelley’s decision to move on”.
ABC Studios EVP Barry Jossen praised his colleague saying “Mike Kelley created a distinctive series for our studio and network with tremendous passion and dedication. We wish him all the best as he moves on to his next television achievement.”
If the series is to return for a third season, The Hollywood Reporter is stating that current executive producer Sunil Nayar will take Kelley’s place.
Revenge airs on ABC on Sundays 9pm ET/8pm CT. The two-hour season finale airs 12 May.