Amazon’s queer take on Penny Marshall’s Beloved A league of its own get one last fight.
After months of negotiations, the retail giant/streamer has handed out a second and final season renewal for the series from showrunners Will Graham and Abbi Jacobson. The Sony Pictures television-produced show is wrapping up with a four-episode final season. The news follows months of renegotiations with Sony to lower the show’s licensing fee, and after the cast had to sign new deals as the order is for half the episodes that aired in season one, sources say.
Representatives for Amazon and Sony declined comment as deals have not yet been finalized for what sources say will be billed as a “limited series.”
In the works since early 2018, Graham (Amazon’s recently launched Daisy Jones and the Six) recruited Jacobson (Broad City) for the more modern version of Marshall’s beloved 1992 feature film starring Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell and Tom Hanks. Graham and Jacobson received Marshall’s blessing on their updated recording before she died. The duo also recruited several members of the former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League to serve as advisors — including the legendary Maybelle Blair, who at age 95 came out as gay during the press tour for the show.
Starring Jacobson, D’Arcy Carden, Chante Adams, Melanie Field and Kate Berlant, the series builds on the blink-and-you’ll-miss nods to sexuality and racism that were briefly mentioned in Marshall’s film. In addition to featuring stories of queer players from the league, Amazon Taket also examines the plight of black women who were not allowed to participate in the league and were part of another contingent of teams that traveled the country.
The eight-episode first season bowed immediately in August to positive reviews; it currently boasts an impressive 94 percent rating among critics and an 87 percent score with viewers on Rotten Tomatoes. The show has also earned recognition from GLAAD (Outstanding New Television Series), the Independent Spirit Awards (to support actress Gbemisola Ikumelo), and with the NAACP Image Awards (Costume Design). It was also honored by the Critics Choice Association, earning the Women’s Committee’s Badge for Female Empowerment in Entertainment, the National Visibility Award from the Human Rights Campaign, and the Voice and Visibility Award from the National Council of La Raza.
Sources say Graham – who has had a first-look deal with Amazon dating back to 2017 with work on Alpha house and Mozart in the jungle – and Jacobson pushed hard League renewal. Produced by Sony Pictures Television, which owns the rights to League, also negotiated a reduced licensing fee as Amazon tried to cut the show’s overall cost and budget for a possible second season. Sources say a wrap-up film was also being considered for the series.
The decision to bring back League for an abbreviated final season comes as Amazon — which, like other streamers, doesn’t release traditional viewership numbers — has continued to spend big on well-known IP. Amazon has already invested more than half a billion dollars on it Lord of the Rings series, Rings of power. The streamer spent $250 million alone to secure global TV rights to the franchise. Sources also say Amazon’s recent deal on land rights to Tomb Raider was the second most the streamer has spent on rights to follow LOTR. The company is planning a TV series as well as a movie and a video game. Next, Amazon has the expensive and troubled global event series Citadel from the Russo brothers.