EXCLUSIVE: Former Nip/Tuck executive producers Richard Levine and Lyn Greene have joined Starz’s upcoming series Boss as executive producers/co-showrunners. Boss, which received an 8-episode straight-to-series order in November, is a political drama starring Kelsey Grammer as the Mayor of Chicago who is diagnosed with a degenerative mental condition that only he and his doctor know about. It was created by Apocalypto co-writer Farhad Safinia, with Milk director Gus Van Sant on board to direct the pilot in what will be his TV debut. Also joining Boss is top feature casting director Francine Maisler (untitled Spider-Man reboot), who has worked with Van Sant on several films, including Milk.
Levine and Greene will be co-showrunning the Lionsgate TV-produced series with Safinia who is making his TV writing debut with Boss. Safinia, Levine, Greene, Van Sant and Grammer are executive producing with Grammer’s new Grammnet Prods. partner Brian Sher as well as Stella Stolper. Levine and Greene most recently created and ran ABC’s summer series Scoundrels, an adaptation of a New Zealand format. Maisler’s only series credits ate The Larry Sanders Show and the pilots for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Mr. Sunshine.
After a heated bidding war, Boss, a political drama project starring Kelsey Grammer and written by Apocalypto co-writer Farhad Safinia, has landed at Starz with an 8-episode straight-to-series order. In his first foray into television, Milk director Gus Van Sant is set to direct the pilot and executive produce the series, which will be produced by Lionsgate Television. This also marks the cable debut of one of broadcast TV’s most recognizable stars, Grammer, as well as his first foray into drama series. It is also his first project since recently signing with WME. Boss will star Grammer as the Mayor of Chicago who is diagnosed with a degenerative mental condition that only he and his doctor know about. It is described as a King Lear-inspired tale of power set in Chicago’s political machine. Grammer will executive produce along with his new Grammnet Prods. partner Brian Sher as well as Van Sant and Stella Stolper.
Safinia and Grammer were introduced a year ago by Stolper and Sher. The two bonded over their love of William Shakespeare and specifically, King Lear. Grammer has strong theater ties. He started off on stage and made his Broadway debut in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. (He also starred in the Broadway revival of Othello.) Grammer and Safinia decided to partner on developing a contemporary series project that draws on the classic play while Grammer was working on Broadway in La Cage Aux Folles, a musical that earned him a Tony nomination. Safinia wrote the script on spec, with input from Grammer and his company. WME, which repped all parties involved, then passed the script to Van Sant. Boss was taken out in the marketplace two weeks ago, garnering strong interest from several cable networks. Starz won the bidding with its aggressive offer for an 8-episode series order. Boss falls under the pay cable network’s business model of ordering projects straight-to-series. It is the second such order for Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht after the 10-episode pickup of Camelot earlier this year. Read More »