Episodes of the fourth series of Armando Iannucci’s British political sitcom will be available on Hulu and Hulu Plus beginning Sept. 9, immediately following their broadcast on BBC Two in the UK. In July, Hulu and BBC Worldwide Americas said they were teaming to co-produce the new season of The Thick Of It, marking the first international co-production for the streaming service. Hulu has had exclusive U.S. rights to the first three seasons of the foul-mouthed comedy since July 29. The show focuses on spin doctor Malcolm Tucker and the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship. After a three-year hiatus, creator Iannucci (Veep, In the Loop) introduces a new Secretary of State to stir things up while Malcolm and MP Nicola Murray adapt to working in the opposition. All seven half-hours will be available via Hulu on Oct. 21.
The online streaming service forged a partnership with BBC Worldwide Americas to co-produce the fourth season of The Thick Of It, a UK political sitcom. It was created by writer Armando Iannucci, who also wrote HBO’s Veep and the film In The Loop. Starting July 29, Hulu and Hulu Plus will have exclusive U.S. rights to all episodes of the first three seasons. Then, this fall, the Hulu services will show new episodes from the fourth season the same day they air on the BBC in the UK. BBC America will run the series early next year. The Thick Of It is “ideal for Hulu’s audience which enjoys cutting-edge comedy television,” says BBC Worldwide Americas EVP Sales & Co-Productions Matt Forde. The often profane series is shot with hand-held cameras and takes viewers “into a world of political embarrassment, backroom deals, policy U-turns, spin-doctoring, political backstabbing and wild media speculation,” the companies say. It features Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, James Smith, and Joanna Scanlan.
Studiocanal has acquired UK rights to The Alan Partridge Movie. A maladroit radio and TV host created by Steve Coogan and Veep‘s Armando Iannucci, Partridge has been played by Coogan since the 90s, most notably in the British TV series I’m Alan Partridge. In his first move to the big screen, Partridge will attempt to salvage his public career and negotiate a potentially violent turn of events at his Norfolk radio station. Coogan is best known to US audiences for getting blown up in Tropic Thunder and doing impressions of Michael Caine in 2010′s The Trip. Alan Partridge starts shooting in January for an Aug 16, 2013 release. Coogan and Iannucci penned the script with frequent Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator Peter Baynham and Neil and Rob Gibbons. Declan Lowney is directing.
One of the UK’s most powerful talent agents has blasted British TV as an institution that’s run by “clever people making clever rubbish.” Peter Bennett-Jones, founder of Endemol-owned Tiger Aspect (Mr Bean, Billy Elliot), said last night at the annual BAFTA TV Lecture in London that “shaking things up needs to be a higher priority.” He added: “Original and polemical programming is in the casualty ward … My plea to writers is to pursue your passion, agitate away. We should be out there provoking and causing offence.” Bennett-Jones said that he disagrees with the priorities that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and News Corp Deputy COO James Murdoch laid out in their recent Edinburgh TV Festival speeches. Schmidt said that programming decisions should be based on statistical analysis of viewing habits and data while Murdoch said they should be based on profitability. “I’m not saying ignore the data,” Bennett-Jones said. ”I’m just saying don’t have so much faith in it. Stop asking Picasso and Michelangelo to paint by numbers.”
Bennett-Jones’ comments are important: With a client list that includes comedians Rowan Atkinson, Eddie Izzard and Armando Iannucci, BBC news anchor Kirsty Walk calls Bennett-Jones “the man too powerful to piss off.”
But U.S. broadcasters don’t seem to agree. Bennett-Jones says that he has been battling with HBO on behalf of Iannucci, executive producer of VEEP, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. “Anybody who’s made programming for American broadcasters realises that as a programme supplier you’re treated with less respect than you are here. …
HBO this morning officially announced the pickup to series of comedy pilot Veep. Here is the release:
LOS ANGELES, April 18, 2011 – HBO has picked up the new comedy series VEEP, created by Armando Iannucci (Oscar nominee for co-writing “In the Loop”) and starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Emmy winner for “Seinfeld” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine”), it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming.
EXCLUSIVE: Julia Louis-Dreyfus is returning to primetime, this time on cable. HBO has picked up to series Veep, the D.C.-set comedy pilot from British comedian, writer and director Armando Iannucci, which stars the Seinfeld alumna. Set “very near the White House,” Veep centers on former Sen. Selina Meyer (Louis-Dreyfus), who becomes Vice President only to discover that the job is nothing like she expected and everything everyone ever warned her about. Co-starring in the project are Anna Chlumsky as her chief of staff, Tony Hale as her right-hand man and Sufe Bradshaw as her assistant as well as Reid Scott, Tim Simons and Matt Walsh. Iannucci co-wrote and directed the pilot. He executive produces the series with Chris Godsick and New York Magazine’s Frank Rich, who has a deal with HBO. Simon Blackwell, who co-wrote the pilot with Iannucci, co-executive produces, and Louis-Dreyfus serves as producer. Veep begins production this fall for a 2012 premiere.
This is the second consecutive female-centered comedy pilot ordered to series at HBO following the January pickup of the Lena Dunham pilot executive produced by Judd Apatow. Louis-Dreyfus has won two Emmys, one for NBC’s Seinfeld and one for CBS’ The New Adventures of Old Christine. She has had a presence at HBO with a recurring role on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, where she plays herself. Iannucci has long political satire experience. His popular and BAFTA-winning British comedy series The …