Showtime has picked up both of its drama pilots, Ray Donovan and Masters Of Sex, to series. Ray Donovan, which stars Liev Schreiber as a professional fixer, and Masters Of Sex, which stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality, William Masters and Virginia Johnson, have both received 12-episode orders and will film in Los Angeles for premieres in 2013. The third pilot from Showtime’s most recent crop of pilots, Andrew Gurland’s docu-comedy Gurland on Gurland, will likely not go forward, but Showtime still has picked up four of the five pilots ordered by Nevins. In starring vehicles, he has gone 4 for 4. That was not intentional, Nevins said. “But we do make pilots with the strong intention to put them on the air and a strategy how to schedule them,” he said, adding that not having the pressure of broadcast network deadlines has allowed the network to take its time with the pilots and overcome a casting issue it had early on with Masters Of Sex when originally cast Paul Bettany exited. “It couldn’t have worked any better,” Nevins said of Masters Of Sex, which cast Sheen in the role. According to Nevins, both series “in their own way are broadening the Showtime brand” — Masters by tackling an universal subject like human sexuality and Ray Donovan by offering “a deep and broad show with an incredible cast going 6 and 7 actors deep that has the makings of a great pay cable drama that is gripping, complicated and I think extremely watchable.”
Starring Liev Schreiber in his first series regular role, Ray Donovan takes a novelistic look at contemporary Los Angeles. It centers on Ray (Schreiber) as L.A.’s best professional “trouble shooter” who is called in to solve the complicated, confidential and controversial problems of the city’s elite. The series’ all-star cast includes Jon Voight as the ex-con Donovan clan patriarch and Elliot Gould as Ray’s long-time client and mentor, along with Eddie Marsan and Dash Mihok, who will play Ray’s brothers, and Paula Malcomson in the role of Ray’s wife, “Abby.” Ray Donovan was created and executive produced by Ann Biderman (Southland). The series will also be executive produced by The Mark Gordon Company’s Mark Gordon and Bryan Zuriff. Ray Donovan is a SHOWTIME production and the pilot was directed by Allen Coulter (Nurse Jackie and Sons of Anarchy pilots), who also serves as producer.
Masters Of Sex chronicles the unusual lives, romance and pop culture trajectory of Masters and Johnson. Their research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a mid-western teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine and nearly a dozen appearances on Johnny Carson’s couch. Masters Of Sex marks Sheen’s first regular series role for television. The series is an adaptation of Thomas Maier’s book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, The Couple Who Taught America How To Love. The pilot episode was directed by Academy Award nominee John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), who also serves as executive producer, and also stars Caitlin Fitzgerald (It’s Complicated), in the role of Masters’ wife, Nicholas D’Agosto (Heroes) and Teddy Sears (American Horror Story). Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale also appear in the pilot. Masters Of Sex was created and executive produced by Michelle Ashford (The Pacific). The series will also be executive produced by Timberman Beverly Prods’ Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman, and Judith Verno. Michael Sheen and Tammy Rosen will serve as producers. Masters Of Sex is produced by Sony Pictures Television.
TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.