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April 13, 2023

Amazon's 'A League of Their Own' remake renewed for four-episode final season

The last episodes of the show, co-created by and starring Chester County native Abbi Jacobson, will be billed as a 'limited series'

Abbi Jacobson's reboot of the classic 1992 baseball film "A League of Their Own" will end with a four-episode final season on Amazon Prime, the company confirmed this week. 

The hour-long drama, which premiered on Prime in August, reimagines the Rockford Peaches, a fictionalized version of a real-life team that played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during World War II. Though the series takes much of its inspiration from Penny Marshall's iconic baseball film, "A League of Their Own" centers women of color and queer women in its narratives.

The adaptation was co-created by Jacobson, who grew up on the Main Line in Wayne, Chester County and attended Conestoga High School. She previously earned acclaim as the creator of "Broad City" on Comedy Central. Will Graham, the show's other creator, is an executive producer on the Prime Original "Daisy Jones & The Six." He also produced "Mozart in the Jungle" before it was canceled by Amazon in 2018.

The Hollywood Reporter initially reported that the series would return for a shortened second season with just four episodes, billed as a limited series. This caused fan outrage and prompted a social media campaign for #MoreThanFour. Though Amazon did not initially comment on the report, the company finalized negotiations for its next slate of original programming earlier this month and made the announcement on Wednesday. 

"Making this show and seeing the impact it has had in the world has been an incredible joy," Jacobson and Graham said in a joint statement. "While obviously we were hoping for 11 seasons, we're grateful to be able to continue to tell the story of these characters and this world." 

The show's first season follows Carson Shaw, played by Jacobson, a catcher who plays for the Peaches while her husband is at war. The character's foil is Max Chapman, played by Chanté Adams, a talented Black baseball player who isn't permitted to play in the AABGL. While Jackie Robinson broke the MLB's color barrier in 1947, the women's league did not integrate before it was disbanded in 1954. 

Max and her best friend Clance Morgan (Gbemisola Ikumelo) set out on a journey to find a team who will take her. While Max has a storyline dedicated to the barriers faced by Black Americans, another major corrective change to the original plot comes in the form of an openly lesbian relationship between Carson and Greta Gill, played by D'Arcy Carden. The relationship, established in the pilot episode, is the basis for much of the social media buzz around the show. 

"We're deeply proud of the work that Abbi, Will, the cast, and crew have done reimagining 'A League of Their Own' which has produced an incredibly loyal fan base as well as achieved numerous, well-deserved recognitions and accolades," Vernon Sanders, head of television at Amazon and MGM Studios, said in a news release. "After hearing what Abbi, Will, and the writing team have planned for the new story within this wonderful series, we are excited for our fans to see what comes next." 

Season 1 of "A League of Their Own" won outstanding new TV series at the GLAAD Media Awards. Jacobson and Adams accepted the National Visibility Award from the Human Rights Campaign, which is focused on the importance of representation. In an acceptance speech, Adams spoke about the importance of portraying Black joy and love, especially in a period drama. 

"I am so proud that 'A League of Their Own' touched so many people in the LGBTQ+ community," Jacobson said during the acceptance speech. "It was incredibly important to me — as a queer woman — to represent the different types of queerness that have always existed on the show. It is a universal story of resilience and hope — and it's incredibly gay." 

The show was nominated for outstanding costume design at the NAACP Awards and Ikumelo was nominated for best supporting performance in a scripted series at the Independent Spirit Awards. 

Fans of the show, some of whom have been participating on online campaigns to help keep the series running on Prime, took to Twitter to celebrate the news of the renewal and express frustration at Amazon for ordering just four episodes of the series as opposed to eight, which the first season included. 

Maybelle Blair, a 96-year-old original All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player, will continue to work as a consultant on Season 2 of the series. Blair joined the league in 1948, playing for the Peoria Redwings before moving to Chicago to join the Chicago Cardinals, a professional softball team. 

While promoting Season 1 of "A League of Their Own," Blair came out as a lesbian, telling a crowd during a live Q&A that she used to think she was the only one before joining the baseball league. Her announcement was met with a standing ovation as she told the audience that she hid her sexuality for 85 years. 

The first season of "A League of Their Own" is now streaming on Amazon Prime.