The CW fans were met with some heartbreaking news on Thursday night, when it was revealed that the network has not renewed Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene for a second season, but that the series will reportedly be looking for a new home. The news came after months of fans speculating about the series' future, after it was The CW's only series from the 2019-2020 season to not have a definitive fate. Part of that waiting game was seemingly due to the series' streaming potential, with network president Mark Pedowitz expressing in May that a Season 2 renewal would depend on how the series performed on HBO Max, WarnerMedia's recently-launched streaming service. While there's no way to know exactly how Katy Keene has performed on HBO Max (especially when it was among hundreds of other titles available at launch), one thing is clear -- that streaming service is definitely the easiest, and most-fitting, place for the series to live on.
Katy Keene takes place five years after the events of Riverdale (well, prior to the series' upcoming time-jump), following the lives and loves of four young adults in New York City. Katy Keene (Lucy Hale) is an aspiring fashion designer who is cutting her teeth working at the luxury department store Lacy's, Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) is a singer-songwriter trying to make it big after growing up in Riverdale, Pepper Smith (Julia Chan) is an "it girl" who hopes to open a modern-day version of Andy Warhol's Factory, and Jorge Lopez (Jonny Beauchamp) is an aspiring Broadway star who is gradually getting fame in the local drag community. Together, the quartet forms a sort of found family, and help each other trace their respective dreams.
Some will surely speculate about what factors led to Katy Keene's not having the smash success that Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina have had, whether it be its midseason Thursday night time-slot, its disparate connections to Riverdale, or the fact that it follows largely-obscure Archie Comics characters. But the qualities that made the series so different from Riverdale would potentially help it find its own footing on HBO Max, just as Sabrina has been able to stand on its own as a Lovecraftian-tinged horror series with only sporadic references to Riverdale. It's been clear, almost since the first footage debuted, that Katy Keene was heavily inspired by Sex and the City, a hugely successful HBO series that ran from 1998 to 2004. Many have tried and failed to update the spirit of Sex and the City for a new era, including The CW itself, which debuted a canonical prequel series, The Carrie Diaries, in 2013. While Katy Keene obviously isn't a one-to-one for Sex and the City in terms of content, it would be easy to picture HBO Max embracing and promoting the series for a similar kind of audience, if it wanted to.
Looking at the existing and upcoming slate of HBO Max originals, it's surprisingly easy to see Katy Keene fitting in among them. There's definitely a comparison to draw between it and Love Life, the rom-com anthology series that debuted on HBO Max at launch, and has already been renewed for a second season. The first season, which chronicled the romantic history of Darby Carter (Anna Kendrick) amid the backdrop of New York City, is definitely a similar breed of charming and idealistic, while also showing what Katy could potentially do thematically when not restricted by the conventions of a broadcast network. There also are similarities between it and Search Party, a fan-favorite, quirky ensemble series that recently premiered its third season on HBO Max after initially being canceled by TBS.
While HBO Max already has dozens of other original series in various stages of development, it's safe to assume that the release schedule of many of those has been significantly delayed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. If the service were to rescue Katy Keene, it not only would pick up a show with a vocal built-in fan base, but it would add another lighthearted, aspirational series like the "comfort viewing" that audiences are currently craving. While it's unclear what the future ultimately holds for Katy Keene, many fans are surely going to hope that HBO Max ends up playing a part in that.
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