Showtime Orders Final Season Of ‘The L Word’

The L Word has reached the E word.

Showtime has renewed the lesbian drama The L World for a sixth and final season. One of the network’s longest-running series, The L Word will conclude in 2009 with an eight-episode sign-off. Executive-produced by Ilene Chaiken through her company Little Chicken Inc., the series, which finishes its fifth season on March 23, will resume production on its swan song this summer, bringing its total to 70 installments.

Since its January 2004 debut, the series, which has gained critical acclaim and GLAAD Award recognition, has grown past the TV screen, spawning its own social networking site Our, huge popularity in Second Life, dedicated fan Web sites and blogs, along with merchandising of L Word-branded perfume, jewelry and books.

“We are enormously proud of the legacy of The L Word, a groundbreaking series that well surpassed its niche as a gay show," said Showtime Entertainment president Robert Greenblatt in a statement. “The title of the show became part of the lexicon, and the breadth and reach of the characters and storylines are a testament to the talent of Ilene Chaiken and her incredible cast. We have a strong tradition of shows that move beyond the stereotypes of lesbian and gay characters, and we are grateful to everyone involved with The L Word who contributed to its legacy.”

The L Word has been such an important franchise for Showtime” added Showtime chairman and CEO Matt Blank in a statement. “We look forward to an outstanding finale season next year and know this show will live on in many, many ways.”

One of which will be in syndication: Logo has secured the rights to the series and plans to begin running it sometime this summer, according to officials at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-targeted service.