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TCA: Truth Funnier Than Fiction Say Showtime’s ‘Episodes’ Creators

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 11:55am PST

In Showtime‘s Episodes, Matt LeBlanc plays a fictional version ofTCADeadline__140109155905 himself, working on a terrible TV series adaptation of a good British comedy series that’s airing in this country on a network run by a president “who lies…every step of the way — a broadcast network television president,” Showtime president David Nevins clarified, as he introduced the cast and creators to TV critics at Winter TV Press Tour 2014.

2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 8LeBlanc was asked if any of the storylines of Pretend LeBlanc were taken from his own life.

“There was a stalker in London,” offered creator Jeffrey Klarik.

“There was a stalker. I did not sleep with her…She was cute is all,” LeBlanc jumped in.
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Showtime Renews ‘Episodes’ For Fourth Season

By | Wednesday December 11, 2013 @ 9:15am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Episodes Renewed ShowtimeShowtime‘s Episodes has been renewed for a fourth season ahead of its Season 3 premiere. The comedy, a co-production with the BBC, has been picked up for a nine-episode fourth season to film next year. The third season of the series, starring Matt LeBlanc as a fictionalized version of himself, premieres January 12. It picks up with Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) — the English couple whose hit UK sitcom is remade for U.S. audiences and corrupted beyond recognition — back together but they soon discover it’s not so easy to heal old wounds. Things get no easier for Matt this year as his career and ego continue to be pummeled. Read More »

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Showtime’s ‘Episodes’ Renewed For Season 3

By | Thursday September 13, 2012 @ 9:35am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Showtime has renewed comedy series Episodes for a third season with a nine-episode order. The show, co-production of Showtime and the BBC, will begin production in Los Angeles and London next year. Episodes has been a modest ratings performer. Season-to-date, it averages 1.66 million weekly viewers across platforms and skews male, with 78% of subscribers watching on a time-shifted basis. Its most recent premiere episode drew 414,000 viewers. Read More »

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HBO Makes ‘Newsroom’ Pilot Available To All, Showtime Puts ‘Weeds’ On Facebook

By | Monday June 25, 2012 @ 11:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Newsroom HBO RatingsBeginning today, HBO is making the first episode of Aaron Sorkin’s new drama The Newsroom, which premiered on the pay cable network last night, available free to any viewers — including non-subscribers. It is going live on, YouTube, DailyMotion, and multiple distributors’ free On Demand platforms. The episode will also be available as a free podcast on iTunes during the sampling period. FYI, ratings for the Newsroom premiere will be available in about an hour. (UPDATE: The ratings are in: the series debut attracted 2.1 million viewers in its first airing and 2.7 million overall.)

Meanwhile, Showtime is putting the final-season premiere of Weeds and the second-season opener of Episodes on Facebook one week before their July 1 debut on the network. To boost sampling of the Matt Leblanc comedy Episodes, those who watch the show’s Season 2 premiere will be able to “unlock” the first episode of Weeds‘ eighth season. The Episodes opener also will be available on other platforms.

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Showtime Sets Premiere Dates For ‘Weeds’ & ‘Episodes’

By | Wednesday March 14, 2012 @ 11:01am PDT

Showtime Weeds EpisodesThe premium cable network announced today that the Season 8 premiere of Weeds and the second-season bow of Episodes are set for Sunday, July 1. Weeds will feature 13 half-hour episodes and is in the 10 PM slot, while Episodes, starring current Golden Globe winner Matt LeBlanc, shot nine half-hour episodes and will follow at 10:30.

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EMMYS: Comedy Series Writers Handicap

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2011 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Comedy Series Writer race.

Greg Daniels, The Office (NBC)
“Goodbye Michael”
Why He Was Nominated: Being nominated for Emmys is simply what Daniels does. He’s reeled in 19 Emmy nominations all told, including three in this category and three noms this year alone. He’s won here once before, in 2007 for the celebrated “Gay Witch Hunt” episode of The Office. And Daniels has five Emmy trophies to his credit all told, also including previous wins for King of the Hill, The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live.
Why He Has To Win: In earning a nomination for star Steve Carell’s final episode, Daniels becomes something of a prohibitive favorite to win for writing, particularly since he’s already taken one home here previously. The super-sized episode, “Goodbye, Michael,” was heavily hyped by NBC and exceptionally well-received by viewers and the industry. “Greg did a terrific job of walking the line between comedy and sentiment,” one producer told me, “which was quite a feat.”
Why He Can’t Possibly Win: Sentiment doesn’t always go over so big with the TV academy crowd, whether talking about shows or individuals. Voters could well also figure that giving an overdue Emmy to Carell for acting is plenty and need not adorn the farewell with coattails. Plus, there are a couple of other exceedingly worthy contenders here, like a particularly buzzed episode of Modern Family. Read More »

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EMMYS: 2011 Comedy Series Overview

Competition for Emmy nominations among this year’s Outstanding Comedy Series contestants is no laughing matter. The showdown between two 20th Century TV hits is more intense than ever, with Modern Family showrunners Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd trying to score their second consecutive Emmy win, while Glee executive producer Ryan Murphy is hoping to edge them out. That is, if one or more of a duo of up-and-comers — Community or Parks and Recreation — don’t act as spoilers. Then again, past Emmy stalwarts 30 Rock or The Office could resurface. Or Showtime’s bold, female-skewing dramedies Nurse Jackie or newbie The Big C might seize the spotlight. And don’t rule out the possibility of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory finally scoring a nod in its fourth season, or How I Met Your Mother receiving recognition in its sixth. And then there are the underdogs. As The Middle’s co-showrunner Eileen Heisler (with DeAnn Heline) says about ABC’s Wednesday night lineup, “We’re really grateful to Modern Family for bringing attention to family shows. We’ve benefi tted from their success, but I think it takes a little longer for people to realize the next door neighbor in The Middle is edgy and wry.”

If Modern Family does repeat, no ABC sitcom has managed that feat since Taxi more than 30 years ago. Of course, NBC’s won three years running. And Frasier took home a record five in succession between 1994 and 1998. So it can be done. But that doesn’t mean Modern Family’s Christopher Lloyd thinks it’s a shoo-in. “Among certain segments of the blogosphere who first anointed the show that everybody is supposed to be watching, there’s another rush to declare that it stinks now. And then there will be others who’ll want to say ‘I told you so’ when it wins again.”

There’s general agreement it would take a miracle for any freshman broadcast network comedy to crash this year’s top comedy series’ Emmy party, with the possible exception of Fox’s Raising Hope. Though there’s a sliver of daylight for a newbie cable show like The Big C, despite the fact it’s a dramedy. Cable continues to make inroads in the comedy series categories, evidenced by Showtime’s Nurse Jackie capturing eight Emmy nominations last year, including one for top comedy; with Showtime’s Weeds as well as HBO’s Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm landing series nods in recent years. This year, TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland has Emmy buzz. But only one cable comedy has ever won: HBO’s Sex and the City in 2001.

Here’s our assessment of the chances for this year’s comedy series in alphabetical order:

Although the NBC hitcom’s three-year winning streak ended last year (done in by ABC’s freshman breakout, Modern Family), it remains an industry darling — with good reason. While not as consistent as its earlier seasons, its comedy quality never seems to wane. So, without ever actually going away, it could be primed for a comeback. But the show, which celebrated its 100th episode this season, may also be mistakenly placed in the “been there, done that” category, even with red-hot writer/producer/actress/author Tina Fey at the helm (the recent Tracy Morgan scandal notwithstanding). But if the Academy revisits NBC’s quirky workplace comedies, they just might opt for the newer Parks and Recreation or Community.

As popular as this CBS smash is, it has yet to be Emmy nominated despite originality in its scripts and ensemble. Kudos to the producers for broadening the cast this season and stepping up the romance for Mayim Bialik’s and Melissa Rauch’s roles, especially after Jim Parsons was acknowledged as last year’s Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series winner for nerd-chic hilarity. If you’re going to vote for a Chuck Lorre show this year, this one’s decidedly less baggage-laden than Two and a Half Men, which lost its Sheen.

With lead Laura Linney considered a shoo-in for an Emmy nod, a side effect is that her show’s chances of breaking into the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy race likely increases as well. Question is, did they increase enough? Is the TV Academy ready to honor a dark comedy centering on a woman’s battle with cancer? Perhaps it’s time. If so, there could be two Showtime noms in this category for the first time, assuming Nurse Jackie repeats. Says showrunner Jenny Bicks, “It’s not going to be an easy fight for us.”

Forever floating on the renewal bubble (it will live on for a fifth and final short season of 13 episodes next season), Chuck has a well-earned reputation as The Little Show that Could. But, plucky as it is, the unlikely spy yarn remains a significant Emmy long-shot. Besides, NBC already has a couple of potential sleeper contenders at the ready in Parks and Recreation and Community.

What is arguably NBC’s most innovative comedy shoots high creatively but has yet to land commensurate ratings. Critics, however, have been quick to sing the show’s praises, perhaps loudly enough to help get it noticed by Emmy voters. Remember when Fox’s Arrested Development used critical praise to trump low viewership? Showrunner Dan Harmon likens Community’s comedy to “Krispy Kreme — we just have to get it into people’s mouths.” Or, in the case of Academy voters, into their DVD players.

In its second season, the wine-soaked “Friends for grownups” really came into its own as an ensemble comedy rather than just a Courteney Cox vehicle. And it’s even poking fun at the icky title that long ago ceased to have anything to do with the series premise. Nonetheless, it’s probably not ABC’s Wednesday night show with the most heat in this comedy category because of Modern Family.

This back-to-fi rst-base comedy about a washed-up baseball player enjoys the prestige of HBO and the marquee value of Will Ferrell as a producer. But it’s perhaps too raunchy for older TV Academy voters. Given that producer-star Danny McBride says this forthcoming third season will be its last, Eastbound & Down likely will strike out Emmy-wise.

After landing nominations in the top comedy category for three years running, HBO’s Hollywood insider send-up didn’t make the cut the last go-round. If shut out again, it’s because Academy voters have moved on from an aging series that returns for its shortened eighth and final season on July 24th. It didn’t help when news leaked out in May that HBO pulled it from broadcast syndication by Warner Bros Domestic TV.

If the television industry’s insiders love anything more than laughing, it’s laughing at itself (see 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm). And there’s been buzz about how this Showtime Brits-out-of-water comedy reinvented Matt LeBlanc. But, even if he might, the series probably doesn’t have a high enough profile yet to garner an Emmy nod.

In 2009, the Fox show that wouldn’t die became the first animated series in nearly half a century to win an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. But it was shut out the very next year. So expect the next TV Academy recognition for Family Guy around 2060. One question mark is whether the toon’s unique in-your-face way of campaigning for Emmy helps or hurts to sway voters. Then again, this is the comedy series category.
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Solid Start For Showtime’s Sunday Series

Nellie Andreeva

Showtime’s series were off to a good start last night. Leading the way was new racy drama Shameless, a remake of the acclaimed British series, which drew 982,000 at 10 PM (1.3 million overall for the 2 runs) to rank as the most watched Showtime drama series premiere in 7 years, since  Dead Like Me (1.11 million). It topped the debuts of The L Word (2004) – 936,000; The Tudors (2007) – 869,000; Dexter (2006) – 603,000.

Californication (848,000) at 9 PM delivered the dark comedy series’ best series premiere, topping the Season 3 premiere’s 821,000 which had the benefit of a Dexter lead-in. For the two airings combined, Californication averaged 1.12 million viewers.

At 9:30 PM, the showbiz-centric new comedy series starring Matt LeBlanc Episodes garnered 768,000 viewers (902,000 total), retaining 91% of its Californication audience. The premiere numbers are expected to get a boost from the pay cable network’s free cable and satellite previews this past weekend. The above numbers only factor in subscribers.

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TV TEASER: Showtime’s ‘Episodes’

By | Tuesday November 16, 2010 @ 1:17pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

This is a trailer for Showtime’s upcoming showbiz comedy series Episodes created by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik and starring Matt LeBlanc. The series, about the Hollywood adaptation of a critically praised British series, premieres on January 9.

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Showtime Tweaks January Original Lineup

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: Coming in January, all of Showtime’s original series will run on one night, Sunday. Back in July, Showtime announced that new drama Shameless will debut on Jan. 9 and air in the Sunday 10 PM slot. Returning comedy Californication and new half-hour Episodes were scheduled to premiere Jan. 10 and air on Mondays at 10 PM and 10:30 PM, respectively. Now new entertainment president David Nevins has tweaked the plan, putting all 3 series on Sundays: Californication at 9 PM, leading into Episodes and drama Shameless. All will premiere on Jan. 9.

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TCA: Why Matt LeBlanc Is On ‘Episodes’…

By | Thursday July 29, 2010 @ 2:18pm PDT

Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

The cast and producers of Showtime’s upcoming comedy series Episodes, about a hit British show’s adaptation in the U.S., met the press today. And Matt LeBlanc discussed how he was cast on Episodes. Not just because it reunites with his Friends co-creator/executive producer David Crane. But because “Schwimmer said no. So did Perry. So did Lisa,” LeBlanc quipped.

The cast discussed whether Hollywood spoofs work. Here is co-star Tamsin Greig’s tart response: “Generally, people think that the TV and film industry is right up its own ass, rather like looking like into a badly run crash. Maybe that’s why it’s interesting and funny and dramatic.” Added co-creator/executive producer Jeffrey Klarik: Episodes “is about show business like I Love Lucy was about show business.

The producers also faced the inevitable question about the differences between what Americans and British find funny. ”We had a whole conversation about whether ‘pussy-whipped’ would play in the UK,” executive producer Jimmy Mulville said. “We did a round of the crew, and most of them had heard the word ‘pussy’, and word ‘whipped’, but never together.” Chimed in another panelist, “They thought it was a dessert topping”.

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TCA: When TV Development Is “Torture”

By | Thursday July 29, 2010 @ 1:58pm PDT

Here is a colorful description of the network development and production process by comedy veteran Jeffrey Klarik, co-creator with David Crane of Showtime’s new comedy series Episodes. The two previously created and executive produced the short-lived CBS comedy The Class: When Crane told him he wanted to go back to work, Klarik’s immediate reaction was “no.” “I said the only way I would do it is if we could go someplace where we’re under the radar, and not get pummeled like we did last time, I felt like a puppy in a clothes dryer. It was torture. Let’s do this, but let’s go to England where they let you do what you want.” — Diane Haithman, Deadline’s TCA coverage.

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January Premiere Dates For Showtime’s ‘Shameless’, ‘Episodes’ & ‘Californication’

Nellie Andreeva

showtime_logoShowtime has announced January premiere dates for new drama series Shameless, new comedy series Episodes and the fourth season of Californication. Shameless, John Wells and Paul Abbott’s adaptation of Abbott’s British series, will debut on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 10 PM. It stars William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum. Episodes, from David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, will premiere on Jan 10 at 10:30 PM. The series, about a British couple trying to adapt their hit British series in the U.S., stars Matt LeBlanc. The fourth season of Californication, starring David Duchovny as hedonistic novelist Hank Moody, will unspool on Jan. 10 at 10 PM, leading into the debut of Episodes. In addition to Shameless and Episodes, Showtime has one more new series in the hopper greenlighted by outgoing entertainment president Bob Greenblatt, period drama The Borgias.

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