With the clock running out on cast options, Showtime has formally made the decision not to proceed with high profile drama pilot The Vatican. The move had been widely expected as, by most accounts, the pilot didn’t come in as strong as everyone expected given its pedigree. Written by Paul Attanasio, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Kyle Chandler, The Vatican was described as a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church. While it is not going forward, I hear Showtime brass is high on its other two pilots, drama The Affair and Philip Seymour Hoffman-starring comedy Happyish (formerly Trending Down), with series pickup decisions pending. Showtime also has upcoming direct-to-series genre drama Penny Dreadful. The network can be very picky in its series choices because of its strong track record, with all new scripted shows under entertainment president David Nevins launching successfully, including Homeland, House Of Lies, Ray Donovan and Masters Of Sex.
Showtime‘s Episodes has been renewed for a fourth season ahead of its Season 3 premiere. The comedy, a co-production with the BBC, has been picked up for a nine-episode fourth season to film next year. The third season of the series, starring Matt LeBlanc as a fictionalized version of himself, premieres January 12. It picks up with Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) — the English couple whose hit UK sitcom is remade for U.S. audiences and corrupted beyond recognition — back together but they soon discover it’s not so easy to heal old wounds. Things get no easier for Matt this year as his career and ego continue to be pummeled.
One of Showtime‘s longest-running series, Californication, is coming to an end. The dark comedy’s upcoming 12-episode seventh season, slated to debut in April, will be its last. The series is bowing out on top, having steadily grown in the ratings over its run to post its highest-rated season ever in season six, which averaged 2.9 million weekly viewers across platforms. The decision to end Californication after Season 7 was quietly made after season six wrapped. The network brass wanted one more season, made one-year deals with creator/exec producer Tom Kapinos and star/exec producer David Duchovny, and the show’s producers started planning a final act. “With its unique blend of lyricism and excess, Californication has been one of our groundbreaking signature series,” said Showtime entertainment president David Nevins. “We will always be indebted to Tom Kapinos for leading the creative charge on this memorable comedy, and to David Duchovny for making us root for an unapologetic hedonist like Hank Moody.” As for how things will end for Hank, Nevins would not drop clues but assured that “Tom has carefully planned the final chapter of Hank’s journey and has brought it to a beautiful and satisfying conclusion for new and long-time fans alike.” Californication stars Duchovny in his Golden Globe-winning role as hedonistic writer Hank Moody who fights to balance the demands of his insatiable libido, unpredictable career, ex-girlfriend/muse Karen and beloved daughter Becca. The final season will find Hank joining the writer’s room as his never-released film Santa Monica Cop now becomes a television series of the same name.
The Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun – Return To Hyde Park chronicles the band’s return to the spot where it played its iconic free concert in July 1969. The concert, held in the summer of 2013, features the Stones’ greatest hits and an appearance by former guitarist Mick Taylor. The docu, which will air at 9 PM on December 20, includes never-before-seen backstage footage. Paul Dugdale directed and it was executive produced by Joyce Smyth, Julie Jakobek, and Geoff Kempin and Terry Shand for Eagle Rock Entertainment.
Showtime today officially announced a third season pick-up for Inside Comedy, debuting Monday, February 3 at 11 PM ET, and will do its part to plug Jimmy Fallon’s takeover of NBC’s Tonight show later that month. Fallon is among those who will be featured; his late night competitors on the other broadcast networks are not listed in today’s announcement.
Zach Galifianakas, Jonah Hill, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, & Bette Midler are among those who will be featured in the next season of 10 half-hour episodes of the interview series from David Steinberg and Steve Carell. Also scheduled to be interviewed by host Steinberg: Alan Arkin, Dick Van Dyke, and Richard Belzer, along with more names to be announced. Carell and Steinberg will continue to serve as executive producers with Vance DeGeneres and Charlie Hartsock for Carousel Productions, as well as Alan Zweibel.
EXCLUSIVE: Showtime has put in development a dark comedy project created by and starring Moshe Kasher, from 3 Arts Entertainment and Matt Tolmach Prods. Based on the comedian’s stand-up and his 2012 memoir, Kasher In The Rye: The True Tale Of A White Boy From Oakland Who Became A Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient … And Then Turned Sixteen, the project chronicles Kasher’s teenage years in Oakland in the 1990s and his deaf mother’s struggles to raise him. Kasher will write and executive produce alongside former film executive-turned-producer Matt Tolmach (The Amazing Spider-Man franchise) and 3 Arts’ Dave Becky and Josh Lieberman. Tolmach, repped by UTA for TV, recently served as producer on Sony Pictures Classics’ upcoming The Armstrong Lie. Last year, Kasher, repped by WME and 3 Arts, was a writer on NBC’s The New Normal and released his first stand up special, Moshe Kasher: Live In Oakland, on Netflix. He co-hosts The Champs podcast, is a frequent guest on Chelsea Lately and has appeared on Showtime’s Shameless.
While there are contradicting opinions on Homeland‘s creative direction this season, there is no dispute over the Showtime drama’s ratings direction. Airing against AMC‘s monster The Walking Dead, Game 4 of the World Series and Sunday Night Football, Episode 5 of Homeland delivered a season-high 2 million viewers at 9 PM on Sunday, up 13% over the prior week. For the night, Homeland‘s cumed viewership of 2.51 million was up 9% week-to-week and the second-biggest ever for the series behind the Season 2 finale night. In weekly viewers across all platforms, Homeland‘s third season is on track to become the most watched, averaging 6.7 viewers a week, up 25% from Season 2. Meanwhile, freshman period drama Masters Of Sex posted 1.01 million viewers at 10 PM on Sunday and 1.32 million viewers for the night for an average of 5.4 million weekly viewers.
Showtime continues to stay with its series for the long haul, giving early renewals to dramas Homeland, which will return for a fourth season, and freshman Masters Of Sex, which has been picked up for a second season. Both series have received 12-episode orders to air next year four weeks in their current runs. “Homeland continues to prove its strength for Showtime, and is one of television’s most exciting, provocative and widely discussed shows,” said Showtime Entertainment president David Nevins. “The critical and audience reaction to Masters Of Sex since its great launch has been incredibly gratifying.”
Four episodes in, Homeland‘s third season averages 6.5 million weekly viewers, up 26% from the same time frame in Season 2. The Fox 21-produced show, a best drama series Emmy winner for its first season, once again is evoking polarizing reactions with its Season 3 storyline. Masters Of Sex currently averages 5.4 million weekly viewers, 33% ahead of Homeland‘s first season.
In a competitive situation, Showtime has landed Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a half-hour comedy with musical elements from top feature writer Aline Brosh McKenna and CBS TV Studios. The project, written by McKenna and Rachel Bloom, centers on a girl who upends her life to stalk an ex. I hear the commitment from Showtime is equivalent to a put pilot. This marks a return to TV for McKenna, who started on the ABC comedy All-American Girl before segueing to features. She made her mark writing The Devil Wears Prada and most recently co-penned the upcoming Annie and Cinderella. She also is working on a graphic novel for Archaia Entertainment, which she will then adapt as a film, and just signed on to write Disney’s Cruella, a live-action feature based on the 101 Dalmatians character. She is with CAA and Ken Richman. Bloom is a comedian, actress, writer and singer whose Web videos include the 2012 You Can Touch My Boobies. Her writing credits include Robot Chicken and Allen Gregory, and she has performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Bloom is repped by UTA, 3 Arts and attorney Lev Ginsburg.
Open Road‘s current premium window is with Netflix. All of the distributor’s titles — including the Liam Neeson-starrer The Grey, David Ayer’s End Of Watch, Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects, The Host and most recently the Steve Jobs biopic Jobs — will stay put. The Showtime deal kicks off in 2017 and all Open Road films from then on will head there. From the release:
Los Angeles, CA – October 1, 2013 – Showtime Networks Inc. and Open Road Films today announced a multi-year agreement to bring movies distributed theatrically by Open Road Films exclusively to Showtime Networks and its multiplex channels including SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX® for the premium television window after their theatrical and home entertainment releases. The deal will begin in 2017 and continue through 2020. SHOWTIME subscribers will be able to watch all Open Road Films titles released in that window across all platforms including SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and SHOWTIME ANYTIME®.
Showtime is already prepping for the return of its hit drama Homeland by staging a Season 2 marathon this weekend ahead of the Season 3 premiere Sunday at 9 PM. But Fox is doing its part too with the Season 25 premiere of The Simpsons, which will air and hour before Homeland starts. Titled “Homerland”, the episode centers on Lisa enlisting the service of a jumpy FBI agent to discover why Homer seems to have “turned” since coming back from a nuclear power plant operating convention. Kristen Wiig voices the agent, so you get the idea where this is going. Here’s the special intro to the episode:
Showtime has acquired exclusive TV rights to film and air the one-night only benefit concert, Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis, inspired by music from the upcoming Coen Brothers’ film, Inside Llewyn Davis, set in the 1960’s Greenwich Village folk music scene. Not coincidentally, the film will be distributed by CBS Films in the U.S.; it begins its theatrical run on December 6.
Produced by the film’s writer and directors Joel and Ethan Coen, the film’s executive music producer T Bone Burnett and producer Scott Rudin, the star-studded concert reunites the trio behind O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? and the highly successful concert events launched in conjunction with that film. ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER TIME: CELEBRATING THE MUSIC OF “INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS” will feature live performances of the film’s music, as well as songs from the early 1960s that inspired the film. A portion of the proceeds from the concert will benefit the National Recording Preservation Foundation. The concert will take place at The Town Hall in New York City on Sunday, September 29, 2013, and SHOWTIME will air it nationally on Friday, December 13th at 9 PM ET/PT.
Artists performing at the concert include The Avett Brothers, Joan Baez, Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops, Lake Street Dive, Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, The Milk Carton Kids, Keb’ Mo’, Marcus Mumford, Bob Neuwirth, Conor Oberst, Punch Brothers, Dave Rawlings Machine, The Secret Sisters, Patti Smith, Gillian Welch, Willie Watson, and Jack White. Stars of the
The One has turned out to be No. 1. Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in Las Vegas on September 14 is now the highest-grossing pay-per-view event of all time. The Showtime presentation of the boxing match pulled in nearly $150 million in domestic PPV revenue. The still undefeated Mayweather’s win soundly beats the previous $136 million record set by his match-up against Oscar De La Hoya back on May 24, 2007. Going for around $70 a pop depending on providers, the preliminary results from distributors have the 12-round fight as having garnered 2.2 million PPV buys. The record remains the 2.48 million buys for the Mayweather and De la Hoya fight but that could change as final numbers come in over the next week or so. The previous second most purchased PPV was Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield’s June 28 1997 heavyweight championship ring battle that got 1.97 million and a chunk taken out of the latter’s ear by the former. In terms of actual live gate revenue, the September 14 has also taken the top spot with a little bit more that $20 million
Enhancing its original drama slate, the UK’s Sky Atlantic has come aboard to co-produce John Logan’s upcoming period series Penny Dreadful with Showtime. The psychosexual horror series features some of literature’s most frightening and iconic figures as they grapple with alienation in Victorian London. Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, Rory Kinnear, Harry Treadaway and Reeve Carney star, with Doctor Who‘s Billie Piper the latest addition to the cast. She’ll play an Irish immigrant trying to escape a dark past. Penny Dreadful is produced for Sky Atlantic and Showtime by Neal Street Productions and Desert Wolf Productions. Logan, Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris are exec producing. Oscar-nominee Logan created and wrote the series with the first two episodes to be helmed by The Orphanage and The Impossible director Juan Antonio Bayona. Shooting starts in October at Dublin’s Ardmore Studios.
Happy Endings alumna Eliza Coupe, Bex Taylor-Klaus (The Killing), Rob Gleeson and Ryan Gaul have been cast in a recurring roles on the upcoming third season of Showtime‘s comedy series House Of Lies, joining recently added new recurring player Mekhi Phifer. Coupe will play Marissa, a wild-child Internet company head and heir to a wealthy media family. Taylor-Klaus, repped by the Corsa Agency and Curtis Talent Management, will play Lex, a badass genderqueer basketball player who connects with Marty’s (Don Cheadle) son Roscoe (Donis Leonard Jr.). She also recurs on The CW’s Arrow. Gleeson, repped by Innovative and Main Title, will play Jeffrey, a very quiet and intense numbers guy. Gaul is repped by Gersh, Think Tank Management and Jackoway/Tyerman.
Showtime Developing Basketball Drama Series From Ron Shelton, Coach Phil Jackson And LA Lakers Exec Jeanie Buss
Showtime is developing a one-hour scripted drama set behind the scenes of a pro basketball team and the family that runs it, and the network is working with people in the know to make it happen. Bull Durham and White Men Can’t Jump writer-director Ron Shelton is set to pen, helm and executive produce the project, from Lakers exec Jeanie Buss and Linda Rambis’ Street Reason Entertainment. Phil Jackson, the former Lakers coach who led them to five NBA titles, will also exec produce as will Kurt Rambis, the former Lakers star and now assistant coach. Buss is a longtime exec with the Lakers and the daughter of former owner Jerry Buss, who died in February after a prolific run with the team that included 10 championships. Jeanie Buss and Jackson are engaged after meeting during his tenure with the team, and are expected to bring their real-life experience working at the family-run NBA franchise to the fictional drama.
Brett Tomberlin of IDW and Ubiquity Studios will also executive produce, as will Brian Gilbert and Andrew Trapani of Nine/8 Entertainment. The project was brokered by Todd Berger of Creative Media. Shelton is repped by Oasis Media Group and attorney Don Steele. Buss, Jackson, Rambis and Tomberlin are repped by Michael Black Management. Nine/8 is repped by Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson & Binder.