Cruel Summer: Olivia Holt to Lead 90s-Set Freeform Thriller

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Freeform is switching things up with its latest TV series. 

Deadline is reporting that the Jessica Biel-produced thriller Last Summer, which the cabler ordered last year, has been re-titled Cruel Summer. 

It sounds considerably more ominous, right?

Alone - Cloak and Dagger Season 2 Episode 7

To sweeten the deal, Olivia Holt has snagged the lead role in a recasting. 

The series hails from Bert V. Royal, Jessica Biel, and eOne, with Cloak & Dagger grad Holt added as one of the two lead characters, Kate, "the embodiment of teenage perfection whose life is one to be envied until she mysteriously disappears.”

Mika Abdalla took on the role in the show’s pilot episode.

Cruel Summer takes place over three summers–’93, ’94, ’95–in a small Texas town when a beautiful popular teen, Kate, is abducted and, seemingly unrelated, a girl, Jeanette, goes from being a sweet, awkward outlier to the most popular girl in town and, by ’95, the most despised person in America.

Missing Melissa - Cloak and Dagger Season 2 Episode 10

Each one-hour episode is told fom the POV of one of the two main girls. 

It sounds reminiscent of Showtime's The Affair, which told events from different perspectives, with viewers left to wonder who was telling the truth. 

It makes for a fun storytelling technique. 

The news comes just days after it was announced that similarly themed drama Close Up from How to Get Away With Murder creator Pete Nowalk and Mary Rohlich. 

The cabler has been struggling to make many of its shows break through in traditional ratings, with Holt's previous series Cloak & Dagger being canceled despite relatively decent ratings. 

Playing with Rafa - Tall  - Party of Five Season 1 Episode 2

Freeform recently canceled Party of Five after a single season. 

The network has renewed Grown-ish and Good Trouble with the fates of Siren, Motherland: Fort Salem, Everything's Gonna Be Okay, and The Bold Type still up in the air. 

What are your thoughts on the name change and Holt nabbing the lead role?

Hit the comments. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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