Curb Your Enthusiasm fans know how Larry David pines for a serious head of hair. He gets his wish — for a while, at least — in his HBO Films comedy Clear History. Looking a little like Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, David is a marketing exec at car maker. But an argument with his boss leaves him jobless, and he sells his 10% of the company, just before its worth soars into the billions. A decade later, with a new identity and minus numerous hair follicles, he lands a chance to get even. David co-wrote the telepic, which also stars Bill Hader, Curb and Seinfeld veteran Philip Baker Hall, Jon Hamm, Kate Hudson, Michael Keaton, Danny McBride, Eva Mendes, Amy Ryan and David’s Curb foil J.B. Smoove. It premieres August 10 on HBO. Here’s the trailer:
Anthony D’Alessandro, Diane Haithman and Ray Richmond are AwardsLine contributors
AwardsLine staffers threatened to send singing telegrams to the offices of TV’s biggest sitcom creators and showrunners unless they agreed to participate in this feature and divulge their comedy secrets on some of our favorite episodes over the past season. Lucky for us, these big cheeses were game enough to pick over what bent and never broke in each episode. On the downside, four singing telegrammers were out of work that day as we cancelled the booking and lost our $200 deposit.
Episode:Family Guy’s “Back to the Pilot” (Season 10, Episode 5)
As deconstructed by series creator Seth MacFarlane SYNOPSIS: Brian and Stewie Griffin travel back in time to the first episode of the series. Six Reasons to Roar:
1. Peter (MacFarlane) is in court on welfare fraud charges and sentenced to 24 months in prison, inspiring the Kool Aid mascot to storm in. Seth MacFarlane: “That was sort of a standout gag from Family Guy’s pilot episode in 1999. It was ironically a gag that at the time the studio insisted that we cut. We fought and fought to keep it in. It turned out to be the single most quoted moment from the pilot. It’s one of those completely disconnected and yet somehow connected moments.”
2. By time-travelling, Brian alters events that stop 9/11 from happening. MacFarlane: … Read More »
Seconds after the Producers Guild announced the TV series nominations for its 2012 awards, commenters started asking in disbelief: Where is Breaking Bad? Indeed, the acclaimed AMC drama was conspicuously missing from the PGA Award nominations. Underscoring what appeared like a baffling omission, the WGA announced its TV series nominations minutes later, and Breaking Bad led the pack with three nominations. But while their ceremonies are only a month apart in January-February, the PGA Awards and WGA Awards’ eligibility windows vary wildly, leading to the puzzling discrepancies. Read More »
The Sunday series finale of HBO’s Entourage drew 2.6 million viewers at 10:30 PM, a season high in total viewers. For the night, the Hollywood-centric comedy posted a total of 3.2 million for the two airings combined. (For an analysis, see The End Of ‘Entourage’: Whaddya Think?) Curb Your Enthusiasm wrapped one of its strongest seasons creatively with 2 million viewers tuning in for the Season 8 finale at 10 PM, the largest finale audience for the show since 2004. (For the night, the viewer total was 2.4 million). Starting things off at 9 PM was the fourth-season finale of vampire drama True Blood, which averaged 5.1 million viewers (6.2 million for the night). It was slightly down from last season’s finale (5.4 million) but overall in line with last year for the season.
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate wants to unload TVGuide.com and, even more importantly, is at least considering an ownership change at TV Guide Network, which has been ordered to balance its books in anticipation of a potential sale. We hear that the studio has begun to interview investment bankers who can quietly sell the consumer website which, like the cable channel, is a 50-50 joint venture with JP Morgan Chase’s global private equity investment arm One Equity Partners. The website is thought to be worth anywhere from $50M to $100M. Lionsgate is intent on shedding what it considers to be non-core assets (just like Lionsgate recently sold its stake in Maple Pictures). TV Guide Network’s owners just secured long-term carriage agreements with the major cable operators, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Charter, further increasing its value. But putting a dollar figure on the TV Guide Network suggests that Lionsgate and One Equity Partners want to at least begin a discussion that could lead to one of the partners buying the other out.
Lionsgate would seem to be the more likely buyer if things go that far: It has said that it wants to build its presence in TV channels; it also owns major stakes in Epix, FearNet, and Asia’s Tiger Gate. ”They’ve made it clear that they have a TV channel strategy,” says Hudson Square Research’s Marla Backer. Lionsgate paid $241.6M for the TV Guide website and network in February 2009. Three months later, One Equity Partners teamed up with investor and producer Allen Shapiro and paid $122.4M for half of the combined operation. Shapiro is chairman of TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com and is now taking on leadership of the network’s programming. (He initially was buying TV Guide from Macrovision until Lionsgate swooped in at the last minute. Ultimately, Shapiro secured a sizeable chunk of it.) Read More »
Both Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage went into syndication this fall on terrestrial broadcast stations for their first season. They were sold to Tribune Co stations as a major launch for the group in late night. But they have performed poorly in the ratings. So HBO recently came to its corporate cousin, Warner Bros Domestic Television Distribution, wanting to pull the shows from syndication. Yesterday, Warner Bros contacted stations to give them the news. However, the series will continue their syndicated runs on cable: Curb Your Enthusiasm on TV Guide Channel, and Entourage on Spike. What HBO plans for the two shows next is unclear.
If there is a place where a neurotic like Larry David’s alter ego on Curb Your Enthusiasm would fit perfectly, it’s New York City. That’s where Larry and his LA gang are headed for the upcoming eighth season of the HBO comedy series. Here is a behind-the-scenes clip featuring guest stars Ricky Gervais, Michael J. Fox and Rosie O’Donnell.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2010 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Comedy Series race:
GLEE (FOX - Ryan Murphy TV Prod w/ 20th Century Fox TV)
Why It Was Nominated: Beside the fact it’s a buoyant but edgy show, it has the style and energy that voting members of the TV Academy rarely find among broadcast network fare. Creator/showrunner Ryan Murphy is seen as a trendsetter whose Glee appeals to tweeners and geezers alike. It’s also a plus that he couldn’t possibly have made a more different show from his very adult Nip/Tuck. That kind of versatility is rewarded, or in this case, awarded.
Why It Has To Win: Broadcast TV still employs a controlling number of voters, and they like to honor their own when at all possible. The Emmys also have a long tradition of rewarding first-year comedies, and this show is also bolstered by phenomenal casting which produced a breakthrough acting ensemble. Bottom line, as one producer put it to me, “It makes the people who vote on these things look young and smart, even if they’re neither. And the gay voters are going to flock to it.”
Why It Can’t Possibly Win: In the Primetime Emmys’ long history, only one hour-long comedy ever has won the biggest award: Ally McBeal in 1999. Desperate Housewives couldn’t do it. Neither could Ugly Betty. Glee could well be too much of a hybrid for its own good. The TV Academy has also never given a top comedy prize to a show that’s anything like this one in terms of tone and … Read More »