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 Mel Gibson), the Iranian-born Safinia was not only able to persuade Kelsey Grammer to transform himself into a dramatic lead, he also talked Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht into giving his political drama Boss a series order. And the rewards didn’t stop there. Boss earned a pair of Golden Globe nominations — for top drama and for Grammer as lead drama series actor — and a win for Grammer. Boss also snared a second season pickup last September, nearly a month before it even premiered (it returns to Starz for its second season on August 17). Safinia spoke with Awardsline about what it’s been like to create and run the show, and how he was able to convince the world that Grammer was no longer Dr. Frasier Crane but tough, corrupt Chicago Mayor Tom Kane.
AWARDSLINE: Tell us how Boss came to be.
FARHAD SAFINIA: I was introduced to Kelsey Grammer about two years ago and we sat down for coffee in a Beverly Hills hotel. Within five minutes of meeting him, it struck me that the persona the man projects is very different from the sort … Read More »
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 season of Boss alongside series’ creator/executive producer, Apocalypto co-writer Farhad Safinia. Safinia didn’t have TV experience before creating the show but I hear he proved a quick study during production of the first season. Search is under away for a new writing executive producer to join Safinia as well as the series’ other exec producers — director Gus Van Sant, star Kelsey Grammer, Brian Sher and Stella Bulochnikov — for Season 2. Boss, from Lionsgate TV, stars Grammer as a ruthless Chicago mayor who has a secret that threatens to topple him. The series has received mostly favorable reviews, especially when it comes to Grammer’s performance.
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 is hiding a potentially debilitating medical problem, does not premiere until next Friday but has already earned as second-season renewal by the network. The spec script for Boss, which Safinia developed with Grammer, marked the Apocalypto co-writer’s TV debut. Safinia continues to be active on the feature side — he is attached to direct The Professor And The Madman for Paramount and Icon Prods., based on the book he adapted, and is currently writing the Allen Counter project at Sony for Will Smith to star. Safinia had been agentless since leaving ICM with his agent-turned-manager Brian Sher in 2008. Sher, an executive producer on Boss, continues to manage Safinia. With the signing of Safinia, WME now reps all key auspicies on Boss, including star/exec producer Grammer and director/exec producer Gus Van Sant.