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TCA Press Tour: Showtime mulls a spinoff of 'The L Word'

January 14, 2009 |  3:56 pm

The final season of "The L Word" begins Sunday, but the story might go on for one of the characters.

We doubt this post contains spoilers because you rabid "L Word" fans know everything, but we warn you nonetheless that there might be information here you do not want to read.

Showtime already has shot a spin-off pilot, centered around Alice (Leisha Hailey), but President of Entertainment Robert Greenblatt said Wednesday at TCA press tour that he has not decided whether the network will move forward with it because he has not seen it yet.

The show, Greenblatt pointed out, will be "substantially different" from the original.

We'll say!

In the new show, Alice goes to prison. For what? Well, we can only venture to guess that it's for Jenny's murder. The new season -- and Showtime has promoted this well -- begins with the murder of Jenny (Mia Kirshner) and then flashes back.

At a news conference for the show, creator and executive producer Ilene Chaiken would only say that the writers agreed to kill off Jenny because her character had provoked other characters and even the fans of the show to love to hate her. Chaiken says the murder-mystery is not the dominant story of the season.

"The season is about these characters, their lives, their relationships and life goes on," she said. "The tone has not changed....The so-called murder mystery will put a few things into place, but more than anything, will give us another metaphor for our storytelling."

Several of the actresses on the panel spoke about the show's loyal fan base and how grateful they are that fans have followed the show, even when storylines have disappointed them. An emotional Jennifer Beals, one of the show's stars, told a story of a letter she recently received from a 16-year-old girl who had been suicidal but found inner strength from the show.

"She said that by watching her show, the show had saved her life," said Beals, who broke down while speaking. "Because she had contemplated killing herself and that by realizing that there were other people out there,  women like her, and a larger community to which she belonged and that one day she might be able to take part in, she was encouraged."

Beals then explained: "I have a weird disease where I cry in front of people, in front of large crowds. I don’t cry in my personal life or at my work, I don’t cry."

The final season consists of eight episodes. 

The cast for the spin-off pilot includes:  Melissa Leo ("Frozen River"), Famke Janssen ("Nip/Tuck"), and Laurie Metcalf ("Roseanne"). Greenblatt said he did not know whether the actresses would be a part of the show if it's picked up to series. Not all of the characters will be lesbians, he said.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez