“Pretty Little Liars,” one of the teen cult hits of the decade, is ending. Cable channel Freeform Monday afternoon said a seventh and final season will air in April.
In a statement, Freeform programming chief Karey Burke said, “Through brilliant storytelling, compelling characters and social-media phenomena, ‘Pretty Little Liars’ paved the way for television shows, writers and cast to interact and engage with audiences on a national and global scale like never before, which led the series to unparalleled success.”
Of that “social-media phenomenon” there can be little doubt: “PLL” fired up countless million tweets, “follows” and Instagrams. Freeform did in fact do some counting, and noted that it was and remains scripted television’s top series in terms of “total engagement” — some 214 million social-media impressions across various social media platforms over six years. (Ratings have in fact tailed off to under two million total viewers for the season ending in March, or about half the total of the first season in 2010).
The series was based on Sara Shepard’s best-selling YA novel series of the same name about a clique of teen girls whose leader disappears (her body turns up later). Both show and novels were potboilers densely populated with twists and characters. In the TV series, they were (at least) seven core characters: Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Hanna (Ashley Benson), Caleb (Tyler Blackburn), Aria (Lucy Hale), Ezra (Ian Harding), Emily (Shay Mitchell) and the unfortunate queen bee herself, Alison (Sasha Pieterse).
For the final season, per Freeform, there will be a wedding, and it already has a hashtag: “The final season will continue to be filled with homecomings and reunions, bringing back old characters as it has already done in the first half of the season, including Wren Kingston (Julian Morris), Pastor Ted Wilson (Edward Kerr), Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok), Paige McCullers (Lindsey Shaw) and Sydney Driscoll (Chloe Bridges). A #PLL Wedding for one of the Liars is also in store for the latter half of the season. To conclude the series, the season seven finale will be a two-hour, drama-filled television event.”
“PLL,” which launched the short-lived “Ravenswood,” will be used next year to help launch another novel-based soap, “Famous in Love,” by Rebecca Serle, also to be produced by “PLL’s” top showrunner I. Marlene King.