The oldest profession in the world still pays off. When it comes to Lifetime’s The Client List, the payoff still racks up eight digits. The hour-long TV crime drama following a single mom’s descent into the demimonde of east Texas prostitution is enough of an eye-catcher to get its cable channel to double-down.
A second season will be in the works for The Client List as soon as they can cobble it together. You can understand why the green light turned on so early, with the first season only halfway over. Viewer ratings aren’t the same jaw-droppers as the 2.8 million that tuned in for the premiere, but they’re still going strong.
It only stands to get stronger for The Client List. Season 2 will roll out 50% more episodes, ratcheting The Client List season 1 run from 10 episodes to 15. That fits the customary cable-drama season run nicely, plus a little padding to flesh it out.
I’ve broken this formula for success down before, and it’s hardly nuclear science to create something explosive from it. The same premise that drives the plot of the show ensures it’ll be a hit unless disastrously executed: Sex sells.
Shocker there, right?
The only twist is that The Client List made the smart move by straying from its original narrative. At first a true crime tale, then a feature-length made-for-TV film, The Client List was a cautionary tale. Its plot was simple and realistic: Small-town brothels are a cesspool of human misery, hypocrisy and desperation.
That song doesn’t play well for what’s essentially a prime time soap opera, though. You need to swap the bitter pill with some sugar to keep your 18-49 year old female demographic tuning in. So rather than focus on the homely adulterous husbands and the moral revulsion of Riley Parks, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character, The Client List cranks up the sexy.
Now we have male underwear models paying for Cinemax-style lovemaking sessions, propelled by a plot that’s less The Scarlet Letter and more Days Of Our Lives. Sure, The Client List has a rough edge to it. I’ve described it as Breaking Bad for the ladies. But things can’t break too bad too soon, or the show runs out of steam before syndication.
And at this rate, you better bet that for the makers of The Client List, syndication is set firmly in their sights.