It was a two-for-one special Friday at The CW. The network renewed Beauty and the Beast for Season 4 more than three months before the debut of the show's third season, which now also has an official premiere date.

Beasties should mark their calendars for Thursday, May 21 at 8/7c. Finally free from Muirfield, Cat (Kristin Kreuk) and Vincent (Jay Ryan) will be focusing on their relationship as Season 3 begins. But because this is TV, their love will be tested almost immediately as new threats begin to arise.

Together, they'll uncover a conspiracy that involves innocents being "used to test the boundaries of the impossible," a situation that's worrisome for Vincent because he'll only be able to fight said conspiracy by "turning to the beast he carries within."

Fall TV Scorecard: What's coming back?

This is the second year in a row that The CW has surprised us by renewing Beauty and the Beast; the network's decision to order a third season last May was unexpected, to say the least. The show does not perform particularly well in the ratings and has frequently been panned by critics.

In July, CW president Mark Pedowitz cited the show's loyal and "very engaged" fanbase as the reason for its Season 3 renewal: "It has a very big international following. We brought it back because... it's a very profitable show for everybody," he said.

Just last month, Pedowitz told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter previews that The CW is committed to launching a scripted summer programming slate, and that Beauty and the Beast's Season 3 renewal last May was an early step in that initiative. It looks like the network is counting on the series to be the foundation of its new summer schedule.

The CW previously renewed its entire fall slate, including The Vampire Diaries, Arrow, Jane the Virgin, Supernatural, and more.

Are you excited for more Beauty and the Beast?

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)

TODAY'S VIDEO: Watch celebrities show us their bizarre talents.