TCA: ABC’s ‘Betrayal’ Embraces Adultery; Hannah Ware Mum On ‘Boss’ Film Plans

By | Sunday August 4, 2013 @ 3:30pm PDT

Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

At today’s TCA, Hannah Ware, who plays Sara in ABC’s new drama Betrayal, said she could not speculate on what might have happened to her character in her other recent TV drama, the canceled Starz series Boss, because that show might have a new life “in some film format.”

On the panel for Betrayal, Ware said in response to a question that she believes Boss had the creative juice to last for a third year. She added that a “bad time slot” contributed to Boss’s demise after two seasons. But when pressed about how her character’s story might have evolved, she said she couldn’t reveal that because of the tentative film plans.

Related: ‘Boss’ Won’t Return To Starz For Season 3, May Wrap Story With Two-Hour Movie

But she quickly added “I don’t know” when asked for specifics, and did not confirm whether she’d been asked to reprise her Boss role of Emma Kane in a film.

Earlier in the session, the panelists — executive producers David Zabel and Lisa Zwerling, cast members Ware, Stuart Townsend, James Cromwell and Henry Thomas — spent their time defending a story line that involves an affair between two married characters (Ware’s Hanna and Townsend’s Jack). “If you embark on an affair and both of you are married it’s never going to be easy,” said Ware, apparently without irony. Read More »

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‘Boss’ Won’t Return To Starz For Season 3, May Wrap Story With Two-Hour Movie

By | Tuesday November 20, 2012 @ 9:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Boss Cancelled StarzThere won’t be a third season of Starz‘s acclaimed drama Boss starring Kelsey Grammer and created by Farhad Safinia. However, I’ve learned exclusively that there are discussions between the pay cable network and Boss producer Lionsgate TV about possibly doing a two-hour movie that would wrap up the story of Chicago Mayor Tom Kane, played by Grammer. “After much deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to not proceed with (a third season of) Boss,” said Starz in a statement Tuesday. “We remain proud of this award-winning show, its exceptional cast and writers, and are grateful to Kelsey Grammer, Farhad Safinia and our partners at Lionsgate TV.”

Ratings-wise, Boss was soft but relatively steady. The series premiered to 659,000 viewers in October 2011. Season 2, which was ordered before Boss‘ series debut, opened with 317,000 viewers this past August, down 52% from Season 1, but subsequently recovered. It averaged 937,000 viewers over its weekend premiere airings on the Starz flagship channel and around 2.4 million across all platforms per episode. That was down slightly from Season 1 (1.1 million, 3 million). But Boss brought cachet to Starz, earning critical praise. It earned the first major awards nominations for the pay cable network, winning a Golden Globe for star Grammer who probably delivered the strongest performance of his career in Boss. Additionally, the show developed strong following by a small but devoted fan base. Its ratings performance was probably hampered by the fact it didn’t have a strong lead-in as Starz doesn’t have enough original series to go around, and that it aired on low-trafficked Friday night. (Though the network puts emphasis on a series’ cumed weekend viewership). Going into Season 2, the show beefed up the cast with new additions Sanaa Lathan, Jonathan Groff and T.I. while keeping its status as one of the less expensive Starz series. However, unlike Magic City, whose first season did only marginally better than Season 1 of Boss, the Grammer-starring drama was not owned by Starz, with Lionsgate TV controlling international and DVD rights. Read More »

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‘Boss’ Rebounds, ‘Haven’ Up In Return

By | Wednesday September 26, 2012 @ 3:53pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Starz’s drama Boss, which recently received an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey, drew a total of 1.2 million viewers last weekend. That was up 20% from the previous weekend and a bit over the show’s second-season premiere.

Airing against BossRead More »

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Kelsey Grammer On ‘Boss’ And Ratings Woes: TCA

By | Thursday August 2, 2012 @ 12:23pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

A first unfolded this morning during the TCA session promoting the Starz political drama Boss, which has its second season premiere on Aug. 17. Star Kelsey Grammer took a phone call on his cell phone during the panel. And it wasn’t a case of his cellphone ringing and him shutting it off in embarrassment. No, he took the call and spent some 90 seconds speaking with, as it turned out, his wife. “Wait, let me get this, one second”, Grammer began. “Hello? Oh hi honey…I’m onstage right now but go ahead…Oh, that sounds great…Huh? Oh sure, OK…” On in went, with Grammer making plans and reciting for his wife a phone number. The reporters and critics had a good laugh. But one closed the panel by asking, in all seriousness, why Grammer took the call. “Well, some things are more important than others”, he pointed out. “The well being of my wife sits atop the charts.” That drew some scattered applause. Read More »

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EMMYS: Kelsey Grammer Of ‘Boss’

By | Saturday June 9, 2012 @ 12:59pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Boardwalk EmpireKelsey Grammer is no stranger to the Emmy Awards. He’s won four for his career-defining role of Frasier Crane in the long-running sitcom Frasier. He won another for his moonlighting job of voicing Sideshow Bob on an even longer-running sitcom, The Simpsons. But the actor/producer/director – he’s received Emmy and/or DGA Awards nominations in all three fields – got his start in acting by performing Shakespeare. And he shows he’s much more than simply a comedy star by playing powerful, doomed Chicago mayor Tom Kane in Boss, the very serious drama series on Starz that earned him a surprise Golden Globe earlier this year. As Grammer reveals here, Shakespeare was indeed part of the source material for Boss.

AWARDSLINE: Tom Kane is an extraordinary character, really different from anything that I’ve seen on TV in recent years. He’s really quite Shakespearean.
KELSEY GRAMMER: Well he was a Shakespeare-based kind of character. We wanted to build him a world, at least a minor fiefdom. A kingdom of sorts. A feudal, violent and seething kingdom. That was the kind of guy we wanted to explore. Read More »

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EMMYS: Farhad Safinia, Creator Of ‘Boss’

By | Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 4:30am PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

Farhad Safinia has done quite well for a guy testing the rocky waters of series television for the first time. With only one other previous gig (co-writing the 2006 feature Apocalypto with star-producer-director … Read More »

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Starz Sets Return Date For Drama ‘Boss’

By | Wednesday April 11, 2012 @ 10:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Starz’s original series Boss will premiere its second season on Friday, August 17. Boss stars Kelsey Grammer in his Golden Globe-winning role as Chicago Mayor Tom Kane and co-stars Connie Nielsen, Hannah Ware, Jeff Hephner, Kathleen Robertson, Troy Garity and … Read More »

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T.I. Joins The Cast Of Starz Series ‘Boss’

By | Friday March 16, 2012 @ 3:35pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Rapper-actor T.I. has landed a season-long guest arc on the upcoming second season of the Starz drama series Boss, which begins production in Monday in Chicago. The Lionsgate TV-produced series stars recent Golden Globe winner Kelsey Grammer as ruthless … Read More »

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Sanaa Lathan & Jonathan Groff Join Starz’s ‘Boss’ As New Regulars For Second Season

By | Monday February 6, 2012 @ 10:44am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Sanaa Lathan and Glee heartthrob Jonathan Groff have landed new regular roles on the second season of Starz’s drama series Boss. The Lionsgate TV-produced series stars recent Golden Globe winner … Read More »

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Starz Stands Behind ‘Boss’, ‘Spartacus’, Touts ‘Magic City’: TCA

By | Friday January 13, 2012 @ 7:18pm PST

Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA

Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht said today at TCA the cable channel will support its struggling series Boss during its second season, but acknowledged the show needs to begin to “resonate” … Read More »

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Golden Globes TV: ‘Homeland’, ‘New Girl’, ‘Boss’, ‘Enlightened’ & ‘American Horror Story’ Bring In Fresh Blood; Pay Cable Hot

By | Thursday December 15, 2011 @ 9:18am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Golden Globes Film: HFPA Reaches For The Stars
69th Golden Globe Award Nominations
69th Golden Globe Award Noms: Scorecard

The Golden Globes’ M.O. is being the first to recognize new series. And with the SAG Awards largely failing to do that yesterday, the Globes ran with it today, loading up on newcomers and surprise nominees.

Golden Globe attention in the past has given much-needed boosts to low-profile first-year series like Fox’s Ally McBeal, which shot up in popularity after winning for best comedy series and star Calista Flockhart in its first season. This year, two struggling freshmen — Starz’s drama Boss and HBO’s comedy Enlightened — could benefit with nominations for best series and lead actors Kelsey Grammer and Laura Dern, respectively. Both shows just wrapped their seasons, so there won’t be an immediate effect, but increasing the visibility of the two series, which air on pay cable, won’t hurt in the long run. And while Boss was picked up for a second season before the show’s premiere, the future of Enlightened remains in limbo. HBO had been leaning toward renewing Mike White’s dark comedy, so the two Golden Globe nominations may help seal the deal. It is unclear if the second consecutive nomination for Hung star Thomas Jane would improve the HBO comedy’s renewal chances, which have been slim.

One of the series the Globes couldn’t save was ABC’s underrated My So-Called Life, whose star, then-teenager Claire Danes, won for best actress in the show’s first season. Seventeen years later, Danes is up for a Globe in the same category for her follow-up series to My So-Called Life, Homeland. (Danes won last year for the HBO movie Temple Grandin.) After being snubbed by the SAG Awards, the Showtime thriller drama made a big entrance into the awards circle, tied with HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and ABC’s Modern Family as the most nominated series with three: for best drama series and lead actors Danes and Damian Lewis.

It was a big year for pay cable. HBO and Showtime were the two most nominated networks with 18 and eight noms, respectively, while Starz scored its first two series Golden Globe noms with Boss. In TV series, pay cable networks amassed a staggering 18 nominations to broadcast networks’ 12 and basic cable nets’ five. (AMC’s tally, two, was hurt by Mad Men‘s hiatus.) Broadcast TV’s freshman class of 2011 was represented by Fox’s New Girl with two noms and ABC’s Revenge with one. Read More »

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Does John Malone Have A Big Deal In Mind For Starz?

Analysts attending Liberty Media’s annual investor day on Thursday will be listening carefully when Starz CEO Chris Albrecht discusses his channel’s plans. His boss, Liberty Chairman John Malone, loves to buy, sell, and swap assets — as long as he can do so without paying a big tax bill. And there’s a growing belief that Malone is positioning Starz for a deal as the company focuses its branding efforts around more than 50 hours of original programs — including Boss, Magic City, Spartacus, and Da Vinci’s Demons — instead of theatrical films from Disney and Sony. For example, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield says in a blog post today that “a transaction may…be coming to turn Starz into an asset based security” instead of just part of the Liberty Starz tracking stock. Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible says that Starz’ “strategic benefits could make it an M&A target.” Maxim Group’s John Tinker agrees that Starz “should be merged into a larger entity.”

Albrecht reinforced those views recently by talking up his desire to have the channel stand out as a premium service. On Friday he elaborated at the Monaco Media Forum on points he made earlier in the week on the Liberty earnings call: The channel scrapped its effort to negotiate a new streaming deal with Netflix because it didn’t set Starz apart from the video pack. Read More »

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Lionsgate Blames Theatrical Film Woes For Fiscal 2Q Earnings Miss

The film and TV company had a net loss of $24.6M, an improvement from its $29.7M loss in the quarter last year, on revenues of $358.1M, down 21.5%. That revenue figure was far below the $421.5M that analysts expected. And the net loss, at 18 cents a share, was below the 13 cent loss the Street had forecast. The bottom line could have looked even worse: Lionsgate included the $11.0M it collected from its sale of Maple Pictures. The company also was able to add $6.1M from its 31.2% stake in EPIX vs a $19.8M loss from last year’s quarter. Lionsgate says that it suffered from “underperformance of theatrical films in the quarter” — where releases included the Conan The Barbarian remake, Warrior, and Abduction – as well as “timing of DVD releases which offset gains in the Company’s television and digital businesses.” The movie operation generated $218.9M in revenues, down 36%. Read More »

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UPDATE: Starz Looks For A Premium Streaming Service To Replace Netflix

UPDATE, 12: 00 PM: No word from Starz execs about when they might announce a digital streaming deal to replace the one with Netflix, which expires in February. “There are a lot of conversations going on,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht told analysts today. “It’s a road that needs to be evaluated almost on a weekly basis.” The company hopes to license programs from its premium channel to a premium-priced streaming service – meaning, one that charges more than Netflix. As more companies enter the online video market “they’ll begin to segment and differentiate,” says Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei. “That’s something we would embrace.” Albrecht said that “we didn’t believe it was appropriate to have our products included in a low-cost service.” Do they really expect lots of consumers to pay high prices in this weak economy — especially with the anemic numbers cable and satellite companies are posting for premium channels? At Starz the 3Q sub figure was Read More »

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Starz’s ‘Boss’ Drops In Week 2 Against Game 7 of The World Series

By | Monday October 31, 2011 @ 3:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Airing against the blockbuster Game 7 of the World Series on Friday, the second episode of Starz’s new drama Boss averaged 391,000 viewers in its premiere airing at 10 PM, down 44% from the series debut. For the weekend, the drama starring Kelsey Grammer posted 1.1 million viewers, down from … Read More »

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Starz’s ‘Boss’ Off To Soft Ratings Start

By | Monday October 24, 2011 @ 1:44pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Starz Renews New Series ‘Boss’ For Second Season Before Premiere

Starz’s new drama series Boss, which has already been renewed for a second season, premiered with a so-so 659,000 viewers at 10 PM on Friday. That was below recent Starz … Read More »

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‘Boss’ Co-Showrunners Exit Starz Series

By | Saturday October 22, 2011 @ 12:22pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Boss executive producers/co-showrunners Richard Levine and Lyn Greene are exiting Starz’ new drama series, which was renewed for a second season last month ahead of its premiere last night. The former Nip/Tuck executive producers shepherded the 8-episode first … Read More »

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WME Signs ‘Boss’ Creator Farhad Safinia

By | Friday October 14, 2011 @ 11:20am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Farhad Safinia, creator, executive producer and showrunner of Starz’s upcoming drama series Boss, has signed with WME where he will be represented by a team led by Ari Emanuel. Boss, starring Kelsey Grammer as a Machiavellian Chicago mayor who … Read More »

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Starz Offers Full-Episode Previews of Kelsey Grammer’s ‘Boss’

By | Thursday October 13, 2011 @ 6:59pm PDT

In a strategy to build interest in the new Kelsey Grammer series Boss, Starz beginning today is making the premiere episode available for sampling to 76 million households across multiple platforms in the runup to the October 21 debut. Grammer plays Tom Kane, hardened Machiavellian mayor of Chicago who finds himself struggling with a potentially debilitating medical problem he desperately wants to keep secret. Connie Nielsen plays his wife and Martin Donovan plays his political advisor. Viewers can watch the full debut episode directed by Gus Van Sant on www.starz.com/boss and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/boss.starz and on-demand or online via multiple cable or telco and satellite outlets. Read More »

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