*Just one month after its debut, Lifetime’s new Jennifer Love Hewitt drama series “The Client List” has been renewed for a second season with a 15-episode order, up from 10 for Season 1, reports Deadline.com.
Loretta Devine co-stars as the manger of a spa and message parlor that offers men happy endings on the down low. Texas housewife Riley Parks (Hewitt) who, after being deserted by her husband, takes a job at the spa not knowing that sexual favors are being offered there on the side. Conflicted at first, she seizes the opportunity and takes the job, balancing two starkly different lives — one as a single mom in a conservative town struggling to provide for her family and the other as a masseuse working with a rowdy and unpredictable group of women.
The pickup was expected following the series’ strong ratings start. “Client List” opened with 2.8 million viewers April 8 to log Lifetime’s most-watched series debut since the 2009 premiere of “Drop Dead Diva” (which also averaged 2.8 million viewers), and the second-largest premiere viewership in the last 5 years behind the 2007 launch of Lifetime’s flagship drama “Army Wives.”
Last week, the show was the No. 1 drama on basic cable among adults 18-49. “The Client List represents everything we want to be — fresh, exciting and original with attitude,” Lifetime president and GM Nancy Dubuc said.
Actress Loretta Devine arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Joyful Noise" held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Jan. 9, 2012 in Hollywood
*Veteran actress Loretta Devine has joined Lifetime’s new drama “The Client List” as a series regular, reports Deadline.com.
Based on the network’s 2010 original movie, the series stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as Riley, a Texas housewife who after being deserted by her husband ends up running a massage parlor that serves as a front for a call-girl service.
Devine will play the parlor’s owner.
The actress has been recurring on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” a role that earned her an Emmy Award last year.
*Apparently news of Christopher Meloni’s abrupt exit from “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” was just as shocking to his co-stars as it was to fans.
Cast member Ice-T says he was surprised at how Meloni’s contract negotiations turned out.
“I’m sad,” the “Ice Loves Coco” reality star told “E! News” two days after reports surfaced that Meloni, 50, would not be returning to the NBC hit for its 13th season this fall. “Me and Chris have been together a long time.”
The one-time rapper, who stars as Det. Fin Tutuola on “SVU,” says he wasn’t aware of his costar’s negotiation holdups until the deal was done.
“We all negotiate separately,” says Ice-T, 53, who has appeared on the series since 2000. “I’m not somebody who’s dying to leave the show, but at the end of the day you still have to sit down with the execs and hammer it out. So I guess with Chris, it didn’t go his way.”
Unfortunately for SVU fans, Meloni’s departure is not the only shakeup happening on the series. Earlier this month, sources told Deadline that Mariska Hargitay was signed on for the upcoming season, but only for the first 13 episodes. After that, her character — Detective Olivia Benson — would be promoted to a higher position and a new detective, possibly played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, would take her place.
*Christmas Eve found singer Brandy helping to make someone else’s life a little easier by serving hot meals to the homeless at the Los Angeles Mission. The worthy endeavor also brought out actresses Stephanie Pratt (“The Hills”) Jennifer Love Hewitt, the host of the event.
Brandy at Los Angeles Mission (scroll down for more photos)
In other Brandy Christmas news, the former “Dancing with the Stars”, contestant says now that 8-year-old daughter Sy’rai knows the real deal on Santa Claus, her Christmas wish-list has well … grown.
“I got her list, and it is ridiculous. When she believed in Santa, she had a smaller list. But now that she knows I’m Santa Claus, she went crazy,” said Brandy. “Now, she wants a BlackBerry and an iPhone 4. It’s like, ‘Little girl, you are eight, and you’re asking for a BlackBerry?’”
Brandy says she told the little one to not hold her breath expecting the Blackberry or iPhone 4. Next year will probably be a different story, though.
*David Alan Grier will make a guest appearance on “Law & Order: SVU” this season.
The actor, 54, will play defense attorney Jeremy Swift in an upcoming episode called “Branded,” scheduled to air October 20, a show rep tells TVGuide.com.
Grier joins previously announced guests Henry Ian Cusick, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Michael Gladis, who are all also appearing in the 12th season.