It’s an extended Summer for Froy Gutierrez…
Freeform has renewed its most-watched series ever Cruel Summer, starring the 23-year-old half-Mexican American actor, for a second season.
The decision was announced ahead of the series’ season one finale this week.
How the Jessica Biel-executive-produced series returns is still up in the air; the mystery could return with a new story with the same characters and actors or using the same storytelling device featuring a whole new cast of characters.
Cruel Summer is a psychological thriller that follows two young women: Kate Wallis, the popular girl with a charmed life who one day goes missing, and Jeanette Turner, the nerdy wannabe who is accused of being connected to Kate’s disappearance. All signs point to Jeanette’s guilt, but is Kate really who she seems to be? Set over three summers and told through shifting points of view, the series challenges perception and follows how one girl can go from being a sweet outlier to the most despised person in America.
In addition to Gutierrez, the series also stars Olivia Holt, Chiara Aurelia, Michael Landes, Harley Quinn Smith, Allius Barnes, Blake Lee and Brooklyn Sudano.
The series, which was the first scripted series to debut under new Freeform president Tara Duncan, who started the job just under a year ago, became the Disney-owned network’s most-watched series ever, ranking as the number one new cable drama of the year among women aged 18-34, with the most recent episode delivering the drama’s biggest linear TV audience yet, rising by 31% over its premiere. In multiplatform+35 day, the series, which is available on Hulu the day after its linear airing, averages 6.8 million viewers per episode, and was also the streamer’s most-watched next-day season one title from a linear channel in its first seven weeks to date.
“I think what has really resonated with audiences is that there’s a very clear, strong mystery, but a mystery that’s told from the point of view of two characters that people can really relate to,” says Duncan. “That central conceit of ‘is the grass always greener on the other side?’ and that perspective of ‘who do you believe Jeanette or Kate?’ and that the story should shift depending on whose shoes you stand in, I just think is one that is really relatable for this audience. The idea of an unravelling mystery that’s told week over week is one that the audience has obviously responded to.”
Cruel Summer is based on original idea and isn’t a reboot, sequel series or even based on a book, podcast or news story.
“People were wondering was this a true story because it has a real ripped from the headlines feel. I think that’s a testament to the storytelling, quite frankly, and again the fact that this is a story told from the perspective of two characters, the audience has really been able to see themselves in both of them. If you’ve got great characters and a story well told, it will find an audience and succeed and really break out,” Duncan said.