Army Wives has been tapped for another tour of duty.
Flush with record-setting ratings, Lifetime has already renewed the hit drama for an 18-episode third season to begin in 2009, five weeks after season two got off to a tearjerking start.
"Since premiering last year, Army Wives has become a game-changer for Lifetime," Andrea Wong, president and CEO of Lifetime Networks, said Friday during the cabler's panel at the Television Critics Association press tour.
"Announcing this early renewal is a testament to the enormous faith and confidence we have in this show and its incredibly talented cast and production team."
The contemporary drama about the members of military families who remain on the homefront is the top show on all of ad-supported basic cable with women ages 18-49 and 25-54, according to Lifetime.
"The show's strong cast and storylines relevant to current culture resonate with viewers," ABC Studios President Mark Pedowitz said. "We expect the momentum to continue, and look forward to working with our partners at Lifetime on another exciting season."
Kim Delaney, Sally Pressman, Sterling K. Brown, Catherine Bell, Brigid Brannagh and Wendy Davis star in the series, which is based on the nonfiction account Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank.