Virgin River fans will have to wait a little longer for Season 5, which will premiere this fall, Netflix announced in conjunction with its first ever upfront presentation Wednesday. And there is more news about the popular romantic drama, starring Alexandra Breckenridge and Martin Henderson — it is getting an early Season 6 pickup.
While it may be unexpected, the early renewal is not surprising.
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Virgin River, based on the bestselling book series by Robyn Carr, has been among Netflix’s most successful series. Its most recent fourth season amassed 277 million hours viewed in its first 28 days, on par with Season 3, and held the top spot in the streamer’s Top 10 for two weeks. (Overall, Virgin River, which was expanded from 10 to 12 episodes in Season 4 — a rarity for a Netflix drama series — has been in the streamer’s Global Top 10 for 10 weeks in more than 70 countries over its four seasons to date.)
Developed by Sue Tenney, Virgin River centers on a nurse practitioner (Breckenridge), who moves to the remote California town of Virgin River and finds that life there isn’t as simple as she expected.
With its simple, contemporary setting in a confined area, relatively small core cast and Canadian filming location, Virgin River has some of the most attractive economics for a TV series with a very high return on investment as it costs a lot less to make than special effect-heavy productions like Stranger Things or a lavish period piece like Bridgerton.
There was a major behind-the-scene change heading into Season 5, with Patrick Sean Smith taking the helm from original showrunner Tenney.
But when it comes to the show’s on-screen storytelling and feel, “Season 5 is going to continue to stay true to what fans have loved about the show from the beginning; it feels like a community that we all belong to and that we’re all a part of, it’s very comforting, it gives you hope, and I think all of that is stuff that people can’t get enough of these days,” Netflix’s Head Of Drama, Development Jinny Howe told Deadline last August. “I think what’s going to be interesting is to see this universe continue to grow and expand and to see new characters, other characters return. A lot of that was set up in the Season 4 finale but it’s going to be really exciting to see all of that come to a head in Season 5.”
At the time, Howe also addressed the prospects for Virgin River, which previously had received a two-season order for Seasons 4-5, to go beyond that.
“I think we definitely see more longevity and growth with the show,” she said. “As long as the audience asks for it and shows up — and I think we see with Season 4 that the fandom is very strong and growing in many places as well — it feels like based on what we’re seeing with Season 4 and the anticipation for Season 5 that there is a lot more storytelling to offer us.“
The cast of the series also includes Colin Lawrence, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Lauren Hammersley, Grayson Gurnsey, Sarah Dugdale, Zibby Allen, Marco Grazzini, Tim Matheson, Annette O’Toole, and Chase Petriw.
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