Will Lifetime's 'Devious Maids' be back for a fifth season? Signs iffy at best

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Last week, in a classic "Devious Maids" cliffhanger, Marisol disappeared before her wedding. Was she kidnapped? Murdered? Ran away?

Unfortunately, we may never find out what happened to her because the Lifetime drama is in trouble. Ratings fell off again this season, meaning a fifth one is in doubt.

Lifetime has not said anything about the chances of renewal. That in and of itself doesn't necessarily mean anything. Last year, Lifetime didn't renew "Devious Maids" until September 26.

But the network cut the season four order from 13 to 10, not exactly a vote of confidence.

Average overnight ratings for "Devious Maids" have fallen every year. Season one drew about 2.5 million overnight viewers. That fell to 1.8 million in 2014 and 1.3 million last year. This year, the show averaged about 900,000.

I don't have access to DVR usage or on-demand numbers so I'm sure those are far higher but the downward trend is troubling. Two thirds of people who watched the show the same day in 2013 had disappeared by this past summer.

The companion series "Unreal" gets far fewer overnight viewers but was given a third season even before season two had concluded. That show gets far more critical acclaim than "Devious Maids," which is probably what's keeping it around.

For its shrinking crew of fans, "Devious Maids" remains frothy fun. Even with creator Marc Cherry no longer handling daily duties, "Devious Maids" still fills a role for those missing "Desperate Housewives." There isn't really anything else quite like it on TV right now.

Currently, "Unreal" and "Devious Maids" are the only scripted shows on Lifetime. I don't know what else is coming down the pike. If the development slate is bare, that might help "Devious Maids" get another season.

You can watch previous seasons of "Devious Maids" on Hulu.