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‘True Blood’s Alan Ball To Helm Features On Chippendales Founder, And A Loser Who Finds Genie Lamp

By | Thursday September 5, 2013 @ 2:39pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: As he prepares to end his long running vampire series True Blood, Alan Ball has found two film projects to sink his teeth into for his big screen return. Ball has scripted and will next direct I Am Chippendales, an adaptation of the Rodney Sheldon book that sounds like a mix between Magic Mike and Scarface. Ball will then direct I Dream Of Gene, a broad comic tale that’s Ball’s contemporary take on the genie and the lamp.
Chippendales tells the story of Steve Banerjee, an immigrant who went from pumping gas in Culver City to running a high-end nightclub that evolved into Chippendales. As the male stripper concept became a phenomenon in the 1980s at the height of the women’s lib movement, Banerjee was consumed by excess and competition. After hiring a New York choreographer to polish the all-male dance troupe, Banerjee became wildly rich, and just as paranoid. Banerjee hired a hit man to murder the choreographer when negotiations went sour. After being arrested, Banerjee died in jail awaiting trial. Read More »

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‘True Blood’ To End Run After Next Season

By | Tuesday September 3, 2013 @ 11:01am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

HBO has set end date for True Blood, announcing today that the series’ upcoming seventh season next summer will be its last. The veteran vampire drama, created by Alan Ball based on Charlaine Harris’ books, was recently renewed for a 10-episode seventh season. “True Blood has been nothing short of a defining show for HBO,” said HBO’s president of programming Michael Lombardo. “Together with its legions of fans, it will be hard to say goodbye to the residents of Bon Temps, but I look forward to what promises to be a fantastic final chapter of this incredible show.” True Blood, starring Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, had been HBO’s flagship drama until this year when it was eclipsed by the red-hot Game Of Thrones. It still is a potent draw, logging 4.5 million viewers for its sixth-season premiere this summer and averaging gross audience of 10.6 million viewers per episode. True Blood also successfully navigated the transition from Ball to new showrunner Brian Buckner who took over the show early into Season 6. All key cast members, including stars Paquin, Moyer and Alexander Skarsgard, are on board for the series’ final chapter.

Related: ‘True Blood’ Renewed For Season 7

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Mark Hudis To Succeed Alan Ball As ‘True Blood’ Showrunner, Inks HBO Overall Deal

By | Tuesday May 22, 2012 @ 6:12pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Mark Hudis True BloodEXCLUISVE: True Blood co-executive producer Mark Hudis will take the reins of the hit HBO vampire drama if it gets renewed for a sixth season. With True Blood creator/executive producer Alan Ball stepping down as showrunner at the end of the upcoming fifth season, Hudis would be upped to executive producer/showrunner for Season 6 as part of an overall deal he has signed with HBO. The two-year pact also includes a development component.

Hudis has been on True Blood for the past two seasons — last year’s Season 4 and Season 5, which premieres June 10. While his and Ball’s paths previously crossed on the CBS comedy series Cybill, where they co-wrote several episodes during the 1997-98 season, the two first met two decades ago working at trade publication AdWeek. UTA-repped Hudis’ series credits also include Fox’s That ’70s Show and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. While leaving True Blood full-time after Season 5, Ball is staying in business with HBO through his overall deal there. He will continue to be involved in True Blood and also executive produces new series Banshee for HBO sibling Cinemax.

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TV Trailers: HBO’s ‘Newsroom’, ‘True Blood’

By | Sunday April 1, 2012 @ 8:26pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

HBO has received first trailers for Aaron Sorkin’s new drama series The Newsroom and for the upcoming fifth season of Alan Ball’s True Blood. The Newsroom stars Jeff Daniels as the anchor of a primetime program on a cable news network whom the trailer portrays as outspoken, controversial and volatile. Great timing on the heels of the public firing by Current TV of Keith Olbermann who reportedly was one of the anchors Sorkin shadowed in his research for the show. The trailer also gives a glimpse at Newsroom‘s supporting cast, Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill, John Gallagher Jr, Olivia Munn, Dev Patel and Thomas Sadoski, as well as Sam Waterston as the network’s president and Jane Fonda in the guest-starring role of the CEO of the network’s parent company. As for True Blood, this is a first look at what will be the last season of the vampire drama shepherded by its creator Ball who is stepping down as showrunner.

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Alan Ball To Step Down As ‘True Blood’ Showrunner

By | Monday February 27, 2012 @ 5:37pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

If HBO’s hit vampire drama True Blood goes to a sixth season, it will be without its mastermind Alan Ball at the helm. HBO and Ball just confirmed ongoing speculation that Ball would leave the series full-time after the upcoming fifth season. He is under an overall deal with HBO and, in addition to True Blood, also executive produces new series Banshee for sibling Cinemax. Here are statements from HBO and Ball:

HBO: “When we extended our multi-year overall deal with Alan Ball in July 2011, we always intended that if we proceeded to True Blood’s sixth season that Alan would take a supervisory role on the series and not be the day-to-day showrunner.  If we proceed to season six, the show will remain in the very capable hands of the talented team of writers and producers who have been with the show for a number of years.  This is the best possible world for both HBO and Alan Ball.  Alan will remain available as executive producer to consult and advise on True Blood and he will be free to develop new shows for both HBO and Cinemax.  Banshee, on which Alan serves as executive producer, is the first in house series for Cinemax and is expected to begin production this spring.”

Alan Ball: “True Blood has been, and will continue to be, a highlight of not only my career but my life.  Because of the fantastic cast, writers, producers

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Alan Ball’s Drama ‘Banshee’ Gets Series Order At Cinemax, Greg Yaitanes To Direct

By | Wednesday January 25, 2012 @ 8:54am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Alan Ball, creator/executive producer of HBO’s hit vampire drama series True Blood, is getting another series, this time on HBO’s sister network Cinemax. Cinemax has given a 10-episode order to Banshee, an action drama executive produced by Ball and written by authors Jonathan Tropper (This Is Where I Leave You), and David Schickler (Kissing in Manhattan). Emmy-winning director Greg Yaitanes (House) has come on board to helm the first episode of the series, which centers around an ex-convict and master thief who assumes the identity of the sheriff of Banshee, PA, where he continues his criminal activities even as he’s being hunted by the shadowy gangsters he had betrayed years earlier. Yaitanes will also serve as an executive producer on the series alongside Ball, Tropper, Schickler and Peter Macdissi.

Banshee, which had been described as Walking Tall meets History of Violence, landed at Cinemax via HBO where the project was originally developed. It was put on a fast track last summer when Ball began assembling a writing staff. The actioner will start shooting this spring on location in and around Charlotte, North Carolina for a 2013 premiere. Bell will juggle production on both Banshee and True Blood, which is now filming Season 5. At Cinemax, Banshee joins a growing slate of original action drama series, including Strike Back, … Read More »

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It’s Official: HBO Renews ‘True Blood’ For Season 5

By | Thursday August 11, 2011 @ 10:17am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

HBO just came out with an official release confirming the Season 5 renewal of Alan Ball’s hit vampire drama True Blood. The pickup has been considered a formality as the series’ writers are already working on Season 5 scripts and Ball let slip at TCA two weeks ago that he has signed a deal to return.

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 11, 2011 – HBO has renewed the hit show TRUE BLOOD for a 12-episode fifth season, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming.  Created by Alan Ball, the series will begin production of new episodes later this year in Los Angeles, with debut set for summer 2012. “I am thrilled that TRUE BLOOD continues to enjoy a phenomenal reception from both subscribers and critics,” noted Lombardo.  “Alan Ball and his gifted team have devised the greatest thrill ride on TV.”

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Cinemax Prepping Amish Country Series Executive Produced by Alan Ball

By | Thursday August 11, 2011 @ 12:47am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

After relaunching original primetime programming with three action series — Strike Back, The Transporter and The Sector, all done as international co-productions — Cinemax is taking a different approach with another drama project eyed for a series order, Banshee. The project, described as Walking Tall meets History of Violence, did not come to Cinemax via the international co-production route but was developed at sister pay cable network HBO and has Alan Ball attached as an executive producer. According to the LA Times, Banshee, written by Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler, is set in a small town in Pennsylvania Amish Country and features an enigmatic ex-con/martial arts expert posing as a murdered sheriff who imposes his own brand of justice while also cooking up plans that serve his own interests. Banshee, executive produced by Ball, Tropper, Schickler and Peter Macdissi, is eying a spring start of production. It will not keep Ball away from his hit HBO series True Blood. Ball is already working with the show’s writing staff on scripts for Season 5, whose official pickup is imminent.

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‘True Blood’ On Verge Of 5th Season Pickup After Creator Alan Ball Signs New Deal

By | Thursday July 28, 2011 @ 5:23pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: I’ve leaned that Alan Ball’s new deal with HBO is actually multi-year. But under it, he has committed to be a full-time executive producer/showrunner on True Blood for only one more season. He is expected to reevaluate his future on the show at the end of Season 5, when he may take a backseat on True Blood while focusing on developing new projects for HBO or decide to continue full-time.
PREVIOUS: Big news at the opening of the True Blood panel at TCA: Series creator/executive producer Alan Ball said he has just closed a deal to do another season of the HBO series, effectively sealing the fifth-season renewal of the hit vampire drama. Ball disclosed the fact that he has re-signed in response to a request to address speculation that Season 4 could be his last. “I have no desire to leave,” he said. “Doing the show, I’m having more fun than I have ever had in my life.” He later said that he and the show’s writers are already breaking stories for Season 5 and one of them is about “how one of the vampires was made.”

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HBO Series ‘True Blood’ And ‘Luck’ Add Recurring Players

Nellie Andreeva

Daniel Buran (Level 26: Dark Origins) has joined the cast of Alan Ball’s vampire drama True Blood for a meaty seven-episode arc on the upcoming fourth season. The actor, repped by Rebel and Leverage, will play Raoul, the werewolf packmaster of Shreveport.

Iranian-born character actor Shaun Toub (Iron Man, The Last Airbender) has been added to the cast of another HBO drama series, the upcoming Luck, as a recurring. Luck, a David Milch/Michael Mann collaboration starring Dustin Hoffman, takes a provocative look at horse racing the owners, gamblers, jockeys and industry players. Abrams Artists-repped Toub will play Doctor Khan, a local emergency room doctor with a surprisingly complicated backstory.

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Paramount Buys Dark Comedy That ‘True Blood’s Alan Ball Will Direct

By | Monday November 1, 2010 @ 3:55pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: True Blood creator Alan Ball is in the center of a pitch deal that just went down at Paramount. Ball will direct and produce an untitled project that will be written by Elan Mastai. The project, which Ball will produce solo through his HBO-based Your Face Goes Here Entertainment shingle, is a dark comedy with a twist, insiders say. Ball hatched the idea and fleshed it out with Mastai. Paramount acquired it in a bidding situation. Ball created HBO’s True Blood and Six Feet Under and on the feature front, Ball made his directorial debut on Towelhead, also writing and producing the adaptation of the Alicia Erian novel. He won an Oscar for his feature scripting debut on American Beauty. Mastai wrote The F-Word, a project that made the Black List and is gearing up for a production start at Fox Searchlight with Alex Holdridge directing and Casey Affleck reportedly going to star. Mastai recently rewrite First Kiss for Warner Bros and is writing an untitled breakup comedy pitch for Paramount that he developed with This American Life host Ira Glass and producer Alissa Shipp. Ball was repped in the deal by UTA and Mastai by Gersh and Principato Young.

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HBO Pilot ‘All Signs Of Death’ Fills Cast

Nellie Andreeva

Mercedes Masohn has landed the female lead opposite Ben Whishaw in Alan Ball’s pilot for HBO All Signs of Death. Rounding out the cast are Ron Yuan, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali and Kelsey Ford, who have joined previously locked Whishaw and Clayne Crawford. The dark comedic drama, based on Charlie Huston’s 2009 crime noir novel The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, centers on Webster Filmore Goodhue (Whishaw) an inveterate twenty-something slacker who stumbles into a career as a crime scene cleaner, only to find himself entangled with a murder mystery, a femme fatale and the loose ends of his own past. Masohn, repped by Greene & Assoc. & Luber/Roklin, will play Soledad Nye, a beautiful young Latina femme fatale who drags Web into a triple bucket of trouble. Ball is executive producing and directing the pilot, which was written by Huston. Filming is slated to start filming in Los Angeles later this month.

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British Actor Ben Whishaw Gets The Lead In Alan Ball’s HBO Pilot ‘All Signs Of Death’

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Ben Whishaw has been tapped as the lead in Alan Ball’s pilot for HBO All Signs of Death, marking the British actor’s U.S. TV debut. The dark comedic drama, based on Charlie Huston’s 2009 crime noir novel The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, centers on Webster Filmore Goodhue (Whishaw) an inveterate twenty-something slacker who stumbles into a career as a crime scene cleaner, Read More »

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HBO Orders ‘Death’ Pilot From Alan Ball

Nellie Andreeva

Alan_BallEXCLUSIVE: His HBO series True Blood landed its first best series Emmy nomination yesterday. Now Alan Ball is prepping a new hourlong project for the pay cable network. HBO has greenlighted a pilot for All Signs of Death, a dark comedic drama based on Charlie Huston’s 2009 crime noir novel The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death. Ball is executive producing and directing the pilot, which was written by Huston. The project, which is now casting for an August production start date in Los Angeles, centers on an inveterate twenty-something slacker hbo_smallwho stumbles into a career as a crime scene cleaner, only to find himself entangled with a murder mystery, a femme fatale and the loose ends of his own past. “It’s not so much about the crime, it’s about the personal story of the central character and his journey back to being fully connected with his life after some very traumatic things,” Ball said.
CharlieHustonMysticArtsAs a director, Ball will experiment with smaller, portable cameras for a cinema verite style. “The show is about contemporary Los Angeles, but not the glamorous LA, it’s about the dirty underbelly of LA,” Ball said. “We’re going to try to go against the grain, away from Read More »

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