Southern Brooklyn

Russian Dolls Booted From Lifetime Network – Down, But Not Out

Michael and Marina Levitis during the shows filming. Except now they're sad. (Source: James Edstrom + Mr. Frownie Face.)

Rumors have been circulating that Lifetime’s Russian Dolls – yeah, you know the one – has been cancelled. Well, that’s not quite right.

The unofficial Russian Dolls blog was the first to note that Lifetime was switching up its plans to air out the rest of the season. They announced two weeks ago that the network would run all of the previously aired episodes of Russian Dolls back-to-back on October 4, then run a marathon of all the unaired episodes this morning, October 7, at 8:00 a.m. Which is exactly when everyone wants to watch a bunch of shrill hacks running around being hack-ish, right? Clearly this was good news for the Dolls.

Or not. The back-to-back airing was a sign that the show wasn’t doing well, and would probably mean cancellation. After all, the show received less than a million viewers at its height. Even for cable, that’s pretty dismal for a primetime slot.

We checked in with Lifetime Networks earlier this week, but have yet to receive a response or statement. So instead we turned to one of the show’s creators, Elina Miller, who wasn’t yet ready to claim fin on the project, but instead said Lifetime was just trying it out with a different market.

“It wasn’t cancelled, they just decided to air the rest of the show in a marathon,” Miller said. “Then they will re-air the entire series week-by-week on their sister network Lifetime Real Women.”

But doesn’t that mean “The End” for the show? Not necessarily, and Miller was quick to put a spin on it.

“If it was cancelled, they wouldn’t rerun the episodes. It would just stop.”

You see, cancellation in the TV business means stopped mid-run, with no plans for future development or airing. Lifetime is actually finishing up the show, and giving it a second chance on their sister network. If it performs well on Real Women, it could be picked up for a second season.

“We don’t have word yet on season two, so nothing is confirmed,” Miller said. “It’s random. Sometimes networks pick it up while it’s running; sometimes they wait a little bit. There’s no clear-cut formula about when they’re going to let us know.”

And if it doesn’t get picked up for a second season? Well, it still wasn’t cancelled, it just wasn’t renewed.

If that’s the case, the ever-eager publicity hounds known as the Levitis family are already trying to sell the farm on the production and turn their unscrupulous greedball hackery considerable talents towards new ventures.

Just days after Lifetime announced the switch, the Levitis clan began floating the idea of a talk show hosted by Marina and Eva on Twitter – you know, where business deals get done. Then, two days after that, Marina went a little more upscale, issuing her own press release saying she’s receiving interest from producers in developing a reality show based just around her, and also offers for her to develop a cookbook. Of course, though both, uh, announcements, claim interest, they don’t name names, which means it must be true.

Regardless that got a boatload of hilarious snark from the Russian Dolls blog, which, for what I thought was a fan site, had some pretty harsh condemnation of Marina:

[Marina] better find herself a production company and publisher and finance it herself. No one in their right mind is going to invest money in her with that abrasive personality and high pitched voice…

… In her press release, Marina makes sure to do plenty of name dropping as though it is going to impress us that she has a Hermes bag or a be diamonded watch. Who cares? Her full bodied figure is far from flattering when she insists on wearing tight fitting clothing. Even the greatest designer in the world cannot make her look stunningly beautiful, as she appears in her own mind’s eye.

… This whole press release is the biggest joke of all that has come out of Russian Dolls.

It really is worth a laugh.

So, with the Levitises clawing to their 15 seconds of fame, should we start the countdown to the last resort of the desperate media-whore? When all else fails, sex tape. But we really don’t want to see that.

Comment policy


  1. Six seasons and a movie! /Sarcasm

    This show should have been cancelled long ago. Actually, any money made from the commercials during the show’s run should be invested into a fund for psychiatric care for people who watch the show, since they are clearly in desperate need of it.

  2. Six seasons and a movie! /Sarcasm

    This show should have been cancelled long ago. Actually, any money made from the commercials during the show’s run should be invested into a fund for psychiatric care for people who watch the show, since they are clearly in desperate need of it.

  3. It’s effectively canceled. The fact they haven’t told the producers yet doesn’t mean anything. Plenty of shows get canceled and still have the last eps air on some platform. The network is probably obligated to air the remaining eps or maybe they’re trying to cut their losses by burning them off in a horrible timeslot that would normally have even shittier ratings. Almost all of these lower-tier spinoff cable channels fill their programming schedules with leftover crap from the main network. If some sister subchannel of MTV started running Undergrads again, would that mean that that show still has a chance?

    Hmm…speaking of Undergrads, if Ned was a cartoon, I think he’d look like Nitz.

  4. Dexter
    Battlestar Galactica
    Game of Thrones
    Doctor Who
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    True Blood
    Vampire Diaries
    Big Bang Theory
    How I Met Your Mother
    Arrested Development
    Star Trek 
    Star Trek The Next Generation
    Star Trek Deep Space Nine
    Babylon 5
    Star Trek Voyager (If your desperate)
    Battlestar Galactica
    The Office
    Battlestar Galactica
    Battlestar Galactica (Original)
    The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
    LOST seasons 1 – 4. 
    Twin Peaks
    Gundam 0079
    Gundam Zeta
    Gundam Double Zeta
    Gundam X
    V Gundam
    G Gundam 
    Gundam Wing
    ∀ Gundam
    Gundam Seed
    Gundam Seed Destiny
    Battlestar Galactica
    Gundam 00 
    Gundam 00 s2
    It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
    Covert Affairs
    White Collar
    Battlestar Galactica
    Rescue Me
    The Walking Dead
    Stargate SG-1
    Stargate Atlantis
    Stargate Universe
    South Park
    Wonder Years
    Sons of Anarchy

    Tl’dr: Watch Battlestar Galactica

    Yes. I am aware you were being sarcastic. But I felt like making a list. DEAL WITH IT.

  5. Another show that dumbed down American culture bites the dust. What a cryin’ shame!

    Let’s hope Playboy does a “Babes from Brighton Beach” issue or we soon see a video, “Brighton Beach Babes Gone Wild!” They’d surely get a rise out of some guys–and gals, too.

  6. You sent the above information about the last 5 episodes of Russian Dolls being broadcast this morning too late.  Therefore, I missed them.  Can you find out when they will be broadcast again?  If you could get Lifetime Channel’s phone number that would be great. (It’s not available through usual means.)  I will really miss Russian Dolls…   Basia

  7. Thanks for quoting my blog (me) regarding the press release.  The blog began on a positive note, trying to give the show a chance to live up to all its hype.  However, over the course of the first few shows, it proved NOT to live up to what was promised. It is not the second coming of Jersey Shore, it is not like the Housewives franchise, it is based on very little reality.  The writing is horrendous, the storylines ridiculous!  Therefore, I am “snarky” in quite a few of the blogs that were written after the show aired.  I believe in writing the truth, as I see it.  I blogged the last 4 shows yesterday and there was plenty I didn’t like.  I’m glad you got a laugh out of the blog and enjoyed it. Anyone else want to check it out:   You might get a laugh too!

  8. According to Eddie Zee he is also “poet,” also according to Eddie Zee he applied for a role in “Real World.”  Eddie keeps posting hoping something will “stick,” but I don’t see it happening.

  9. Great show, lots of fun and it’s local. It’s nice to see a reality show with people, other than Italians, displaying dysfunction. Spray-on tans, excessive boozing, catfights used to be monopolized by The Situation, Pauly and Snooki but I welcome our comrades into the mix, takes the heat off us. Although unlike the “plastic enhanced Jersey Shore, Jerselicious, RH of NJ women our local Russian Doll women seem all natural. One thing Russian and Italian women do have in common is they come in two flavors- desperate or arrogant. Keep the show, it’s our only salvation, Ciao.

  10. I thought that this program was going to be real crap, but as it turns out, I have enjoyed it.  I like that it takes us into places that we wouldn’t think of going into as a non-russian, eg. the banya, Rasputin, the deli’s (exotic foods), etc. 

  11. Please change the colors in your blog site.  I really want to read it, but it’s burning my eyeballs out of my head!

  12. Why wouldn’t you visit an Eastern European deli? I’m not Russian, but these days I find myself in a lot of Russian establishments – especially when it comes to food. I’ve been into a banya, too – but didn’t really banya it up. Just walked in, checked out the place, and walked out. 

    You really should consider checking these places out, whether it’s restaurants, grocery stores, religious centers or other businesses. They’re your neighbors, as are the Asians, Muslims, Orthodox, etc, and being curious is the first step to understanding them and getting along with them.

  13. I didn’t say this to be arrogant or ignorant, I am a person who is not one to try certain cuisines.  We used to have a russian restaurant right by my house, but the smell of garlic and I guess certain spices was nauseating (PS – I LOVE garlic, but they did overkill!).  I wish I was adventurous.  My brother eats all these ethnic and unusal foods – kangaroo, alligator, raw stuff – all these things, unfortunately don’t interest me.  I didn’t know that you could just walk into and through the banya – it could be very interesting.  I am not one to shy away from people of other cultures.  I happen to like alot of people of different backgrounds and religions, and have learned alot about and from them.  I would love to go to check out a club like Rasputin, but it is so expensive.  I guess they don’t want the Riff Raff like me!


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