Side Order of Life is a dramatic television series broadcast by Lifetime on Sunday night. In its first five weeks it aired at 8:00pm ET/PT, then switched to the 9:00pm time slot.
Marisa Coughlan plays Jenny McIntyre, a photographer who reconsiders her life and is reawakened to her options after her best friend, Vivy Porter (Diana-Maria Riva), is diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer. Jason Priestley returns to regular series television as Ian Denison, Jenny's fiancé. Christopher Gartin rounds out the main case as Jenny's boss Rick Purdy at the fictional In Person magazine; he is in love with Vivy, who has rejected him.
Lifetime broadcast Side Order of Life with State of Mind and Army Wives in an effort to offer a night of new original programming aimed primarily at female viewers during the summer hiatus.
Side Order of Life premiered on Lifetime on July 15, 2007. Initial reviews were positive, with Variety.com's Brian Lowry saying, "writer-producer Margaret Nagle brings a level of wit to the proceedings superior to most chick-lit-inspired TV drama." The Seattle Times, after describing the premise, said, "If this all sounds kind of corny, well, it kind of is until you realize the story line hits its mark, making you recall your own missteps and regrets for not having taken better charge."
The Boston Herald stated that "Lifetime’s new dramedy Side Order of Life wants to be the next Grey’s Anatomy so badly, it even borrows Meredith's TV dad for the debut," but despite the content of the review, rated it a 'B' and said it was "almost satisfying."
In a moment of candor, when discussing his role on a female-oriented show on a female-oriented network, Jason Priestley referred to himself as "the man-meat," but stated, "I'm ok with that."
Lifetime has decided not to renew Side Order of Life for a second season.
The show hovered in the balance for the length of the writer's strike with fans even going to the lengths of sending take-out menus by the scores to the network and calling Lifetime studios to fight for the show's survival. Ironically, on the same day the series was notified of its selection for an Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Honors award for its groundbreaking work as a television series, Lifetime notified cast members and crew of the cancellation.
Fittingly, a large contingent of the show's fan base are cancer survivors and friends and family members of those affected, and despite an overwhelming outpouring of outcry, Lifetime has not moved to reverse the decision.
Lifetime announced soon after this decision that it would be purchasing the show "Project Runway", although no connection to the unrelated events was publicized. Outrage in the cancer survivor community over Lifetime's programming choice continues to this day as the network's message board for the show still receives empassioned pleas for Lifetime to reconsider.