Laura Linney, The Big C

Eric Liebowitz/SHOWTIME

Laura Linney's The Big C will live on. Just a teeeensy bit longer.

In a somewhat surprising move, Showtime announced today the cancer dramedy series will receive a fourth season...but it will only be four episodes long. The upside for fans? Those episodes will be a full hour long, instead of the prior 30-minute format.

"From its inception, the show has been unique and we've found a creative way to bring conclusion to Cathy's story," Showtime Entertainment president David Nevins told reporters today at the Television Critics Association press tour.

The third season was only 10 episodes long and garnered an audience of roughly 500,000 viewers. It was not known if the series would return at all, but Showtime decided to give Cathy (Linney) a proper send-off.

Given the show's premise (a cancer patient dealing with a terminal prognosis), something tells us you will need a massive box of tissues. But Nevins warns fans not to jump to any conclusions.

"I wouldn't assume anything on how it's going to end," he told us. "We've been having a lot of very interesting creative conversations on how to do it. It's very important with a premium network that shows be able to plan their end and do it the right way. They've got a very interesting and novel, and form-breaking way to handle where the show is going. I think it's going to make for a very interesting season."

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