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For all the Shameless fans who loved watching Emmy Rossum's Fiona try to get her (and everyone else's) life together for almost a full nine seasons, we now know that the show will, in fact, go on without her. Showtime Networks' President of Entertainment, Gary Levine, announced the Season 10 renewal today during the Television Critics Association’s Winter Press Tour.
The second half of Shameless Season 9 just debuted on January 20, so the show must still be going strong enough to give Showtime faith that it can continue to bring in viewers, even without Emmy Rossum. The renewal makes the family dramedy the longest running series of any kind on the cabler, and both Levine and show executive producer John Wells spoke to the journalists assembled about how eager they were to continue the wild family saga that's been built.
While Shameless is an ensemble show focusing on the large (and largely dysfunctional) Gallagher clan on Chicago's South Side, the main thrust of the series has always been Rossum's Fiona. As the oldest of six children, with an alcoholic father who's barely around and an absentee mother, Fiona took on the responsibilities of caring for her younger siblings, which forced her to leave high school in her junior year. She's the one who has struggled the most to keep them all together, fed, in school and with a roof over their heads, even when they didn't appreciate her advice, herculean efforts or sacrifices. Fiona has spent most of her life doing everything she could she protect her family, even when her personal problems threatened to get in the way.
It's not unheard of for a show to go on without what must at least feel like the main character to a lot of fans, but that doesn't mean it was a given that the show would have continued after Emmy Rossum left. In fact, one of the big questions that was asked when Rossum announced that she would be exiting the series after Season 9 was whether or not Shameless would be back without her. John Wells made it clear at the time that he was interested in keeping the family shenanigans going, but this is the kind of decision that also requires the network to have enough belief in a show's ability to draw eyeballs without a major character. And, luckily for fans, Showtime is still on board the Gallagher train.
With plenty of time to plan for Rossum's exit, the show has already set Fiona up by putting her at a low point that has been said will help propel the character toward the next phase of her life, now that most of her siblings are grown and don't need her the way they used to. We've been promised that things won't suddenly be sunshine and roses for the young woman who's struggled so much up to now, but that we can expect to see her make some realizations that should see her finally coming to terms with what she needs to move forward.
Well, there are no shortage of characters to step up and pick up the slack left by Fiona's absence once Season 10 rolls around. The new season will begin filming sometime this year, but, for now, you can see how Emmy Rossum and her long suffering character head off into the probably partly cloudy sunset by catching Shameless on Showtime when it airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST.