Nellie Andreeva

Showtime has picked up Steve Carell and David Steinberg’s docu/interview series, now titled Laughing Stock. The series, which will premiere in January, features host Steinberg interviewing top comedians of several generations, including Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Lily Tomlin, Don Rickles, Carol Burnett, Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Judd Apatow, Robin Williams, Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock, Jane Lynch, Tina Fey and Carell.

Additionally, Showtime announced a premiere date for new dark comedy series House of Lies starring Don Cheadle. It will debut on Jan. 8, sandwiched between the season premieres of Shameless and Californication.

Showtime entertainment president David Nevins today introduced to critics his first 2 new series at the network, drama Homeland and House of Lies. There will be more soon. “We’ve definitely been in expansion mode, we’re now up to 10 major scripted shows and there are more coming,”he said during the network’s executive session.”We believe in investing in renewable resources, which is fundamentally our series. We are in a good place now trying to get gradually bigger.” He said Showtime is not tempted to re-enter the longform arena despite HBO’s Emmy success with movies and miniseries. “If you do longform, you can rack up a large number of Emmy nominations but I like our strategy to put resources in renewable things.”

Asked about the cancellation of United States of Tara, Nevins said, “It was a big show for us, it received critical acclaim, it got Toni Collette an Emmy. We thought that show had accomplished what it was going to accomplish, and it was time to plant some new seeds.”

As for veteran Weeds, “We haven’t picked it up yet but I’m optimistic,” Nevins said. “I think that show has real life in it. (Creator) Jenji (Kohan) has done a really good job of evolving her show.”

Nevins also hasn’t made a decision on the future of reality series The Real L Word but noted that creator Ilene Chaiken “has made good creative adjustments, the show became more distinctive, about a specific subculture.”

Asked about the upcoming season of Dexter, despite a strong spiritual element, “Jesus will not be in the show this year,” Nevins quipped. He described the season as a “Dan Brown-style mystery. There’s a story to be followed, clues to be unpacked.”

As for the new season of The Borgias, “(creator) Neil (Jordan) is making some interesting moves in Season 2 about how power corrupts,” Nevins said. “Season 1 was more about white collar crime, Season 2 is a little bit more violent and visceral.”

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.