Back in January, the fan favorite Lifetime dramedy Drop Dead Diva was, much to the dismay of its loyal fan base, canceled by the network. Even worse was the fact that the show had left its viewers with a major cliffhanger: that of the future of Jane Bingum (series lead Brooke Elliott) and Judge Owen French (series regular Lex Medlin) who were just preparing to get married when Grayson Kent (series regular Jackson Hurst) shared a kiss with the bride and it appeared that the spirit of the real Jane was descending from heaven to lay claim on her former life one way or the other.
A month and a half later, though, Lifetime and the producing studio Sony Pictures TV, thankfully, worked out a deal to bring the show back from its untimely demise with plans to air a 13-episode fifth season starting on June 23.
There are a few changes in store for ‘Drop Dead Diva’, however; namely, that there will be less on-location filming and a reduction in how many days of production assigned per episode. And then, there is the loss of series regular Josh Stamberg, who has played Jay Parker since the pilot episode, who is not returning to the show. Actor Carter MacIntyre, who played Jane’s guardian angel Luke last season, isn’t coming back either. In fact, he will be replaced by newcomer Justin Deeley, who will play Jane’s new guardian angel Paul.
As a refresher, ‘Drop Dead Diva’ revolves around a vapid blonde aspiring model, Deborah “Deb” Dobkins (Brooke D’Orsay) who was killed in a car crash. At the gates of heaven, Deb is disappointed that she is declared a “zero-zero” – someone who has performed zero good deeds and zero bad acts because of her shallowness. Deb decides to hit the “return” key on the keyboard of the Angel’s computer who greeted her, sending her soul back to Earth, but not quite in the way Deb hoped. Her soul ends up in the body of brilliant, hard-working, charitable and full-figured attorney Jane Bingum, who died protecting her boss Jay Parker.
Over the course of the next four seasons, Deb – in the body of Jane – has learned how to cope with her new life, dealing with Jane’s genius-level intelligence – which remained behind – and how to make a future for herself with Deb’s best friend Stacy Barrett (series regular April Bowlby), Jane’s dependable assistant Teri Lee (series regular Margaret Cho) and, eventually, a loyal boyfriend – the aforementioned Judge French – who she was set to marry.
It is rumored that Jane’s first guardian angel Fred (former series regular Ben Feldman) will be making a return visit while fellow attorney Kim Kaswell (series regular Kate Levering) will be getting a new assistant in the form of actress Annie Ilonzeh (‘Arrow’ and ‘Switched at Birth’).
Kim can also expect a return visit by her estranged dad Larry (‘Cheers’ alum John Ratzenberger) and Grayson will get an unexpected visit from his former fiancée Vanessa Hemmings (actress Jaime Ray Newman from ‘Eureka’ and ‘Red Widow’), who left him at the altar in season three. And, actress Natalie Hall (‘Pretty Little Liars’) will play a character named Britney for at least two episodes and, without giving too much away, fans will be very surprised by who Britney turns out to be (but you will have to wait for episode two of the new season to find out the truth). Spoilers!
‘Drop Dead Diva’ will be back for the start of its fifth season on Lifetime this Sunday, June 23 at 9/8c.