Sarah Silverman recently signed to star in HBO‘s comedy pilot People In New Jersey, and now she’s taking the stage for the premium channel. Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles, her first stand-up special for HBO, will premiere at 10 PM on November 23. Taped in front of about three dozen folks at Largo in LA, the special skewers such subjects as porn, religion, politics, and “the miracle of existence.” Silverman has appeared on a number of HBO shows, dating to the ’90s series The Larry Sanders Show and Mr. Show With Bob And David. We Are Miracles is produced by Funny Or Die and Black Gold Films and executive produced by Heidi Herzon, Mike Farah, Anna Wenger, Betsy Koch, Amy Zvi and Sarah Silverman. Liam Lynch directs.
Part of the appeal of HBO’s Entourage was that no matter how treacherous Hollywood could be, Vinnie Chase always knew he had the loyalty and friendship of his Queens, NY, pals to fall back on. That spirit seems to have gone AWOL in the negotiations to move the series to the big screen. Nearly 10 months after my colleague Mike Fleming Jr revealed that Warner Bros had greenlighted a script by creator Doug Ellin that he will direct, progress has slowed to the point that some of the gang are publicly taking shots at each other. Exec producer Mark Wahlberg, on whose life Entourage is loosely based, told TMZ last week that the film will happen “as soon as those guys stop being so greedy.” Since Jeremy Piven and Kevin Connolly already have made their deals, Wahlberg seems to be directing his remarks at Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara and Adrian Grenier, who played Chase. Grenier responded via Twitter: “I will sign any deal that gives ALL the boys an opportunity to share in the upside of success EQUALLY.” There is precedent for this in the last HBO series to transfer to the big screen: The exact same thing happened in 2004 when Michael Patrick King got the go-ahead on a big-screen version of Sex And The City.
As expected, HBO has promoted Casey Bloys and Michael Ellenberg in the wake of HBO Entertainment president Sue Naegle’s departure last month. Bloys and Ellenberg have been upped to EVP, HBO Programming, reporting to HBO Programming president Michael Lombardo who is taking sole oversight of the pay cable network’s development. Bloys will continue to oversee the development and production of all comedy series, specials and talk shows, and Ellenberg all drama series. “Both Casey and Michael already have proven track records and have been pivotal in developing one of the strongest series slates in HBO history,” said Lombardo. “They are recognized throughout the industry as two of the most talented entertainment executives and, equally important, valued within the company for their leadership and strategic vision.”
EXCLUSIVE: There is behind-the-scenes change on Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter’s long-gestating rock ‘n’ roll drama at HBO. Feature writer-directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien, who were tapped as showrunners in August, have left the project. The duo will stay in business with HBO via a blind script deal. Koppelman and Levien were to do some rewriting on Winter’s pilot script, working with him. Their exit was a mutual decision stemming from differences over the series’ creative direction. Talks already are underway with a potential new showrunner. The untitled rock ‘n’ roll series, which Boardwalk Empire executive producers Scorsese and Winter created with The Rolling Stones’ Jagger, has been in the works at HBO since 2010, moving on a slow track because of the principals’ busy schedules. Winter has been running Boardwalk Empire, now in Season 4 and already renewed for a fifth season; Scorsese has been focused on features; and Jagger has been working with his band. Things started to pick up earlier this summer when Bobby Cannavale became attached to play the lead, and the project began gearing up for an early 2014 shoot with Scorsese directing the pilot — like he did with the Boardwalk Empire pilot that earned him a directing Emmy.
HBO made it official: Matthew McConaughey/Woody Harrelson‘s new HBO series True Detectives will premiere on Sunday, January 12 at 9 PM, after which Girls will return for its third season. And, the network’s new Looking debuts Sunday, January 19 at 10:30 PM. True Detectives stars McConaughey and Harrelson as Louisiana detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, whose lives collide and entwine during a 17-year hunt for a killer, ranging from the original investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 to the reopening of the case in 2012.
The NFL has quietly passed a rule during its fall meeting that will force one franchise per year to be filmed for HBO’s Hard Knocks. The news came the same day that the league was fending off some negative PR over PBS’ premiere of the football concussion docu League Of Denial and President Obama weighing in on the Washington Redskins nickname flap. The popular series, which follows a team through preseason, had a tough time finding a subject this year. Five teams declined to participate before the Cincinnati Bengals — a good-not-great small-market franchise with a negligible national following — agreed to do it for a second time. The NFL and HBO signed a multiyear extension for the program in July, so something had to be done. Under the new rules, teams can volunteer to be on the program, but now the league will select one if there are no takers. Teams that have a new head coach, have been in the playoffs at least once in the past two seasons, or have done one Hard Knocks in the past 10 years are exempt from appearing on the show.
Major casting news for The Money, HBO’s David Milch drama about wealth and corruption among the super elite. Billy Magnussen has been cast as a series regular, in the role of Greg Castman — the middle, and favorite, child of mogul/patriarch James Castman (Brendan Gleeson), who wields power and influence to expand his media empire and control his clan. Rosemary Harris has been cast in the recurring role of Ellen Knox, the sharp, fearless, and funny mother of James Castman’s wife Ruth (Laila Robins). Mamie Gummer will recur as Tricia Castman, who comes from old New York money and is married to John Castman (Patrick Kennedy), James and Ruth’s dutiful son and key lieutenant in Castman’s empire. Ray Liotta will recur as wealthy, entitled, untouchable Wall Street tycoon George Archer. Ruth Negga becomes a series regular, playing Erin Foley, the stylish, no-nonsense senior news editor who reports to John Castman. Morgan Spector also signed on as a series regular, playing James Castman’s trusted associate Sidney. John Carroll Lynch will recur as Robert Harris, the CFO of the parent company of Castman’s many holdings. And Tracee Chimo will recur as a private eye Jane Mulvaney, who works closely with Gordon McCarren, a reporter for VistaCorp’s New York Herald who’s job is on the line and is desperate to confirm a hot scoop. Nathan Lane was signed last month to the McCarren role. Milch is writing and executive producing with exec producers Art Linson and John Linson. Justin Chadwick is directing the pilot and co-exec producing. Frank Rich also exec produces; Eric Roth and Sarah Caplan are co-exec producing.
UPDATED: HBO‘s president and COO Eric Kessler is leaving the company after 27 years. HBO CEO Richard Plepler just made the announcement in a company memo (read it below), highlighting Kessler’s accomplishments that include launching the network’s signature “It’s Not TV. It’s HBO” marketing campaign. The COO position will not be filled as part of executive streamlining. For the time being, Kessler’s reports Rob Roth, Otto Berkes, Shelley Brindle, Pam Levine and Simon Sutton will report to Plepler, with Kessler staying on to help with the transition. The departure leaves Plepler as the sole executive atop HBO with Michael Lombardo as his top lieutenant, capping a six-year transitional period after the 2007 departure of chairman/CEO Chris Albrecht. The initial HBO management structure featured a quintet of top executives: Bill Nelson succeeding Albrecht as HBO chairman/CEO, with Harold Akselrad, Kessler and Plepler as co-presidents, and Lombardo as West Coast president. Akselrad left in 2008 after 25 years at HBO, while Nelson retired last year after a 30-year career at the network. Additionally, Lombardo’s top development executive, Sue Naegle, stepped down as entertainment president last week to segue to a producing deal with HBO.
Oblivion co-star Andrea Riseborough has been cast opposite Brendan Gleeson in The Money, David Milch‘s new drama pilot for HBO. Written by Milch and directed by Justin Chadwick, The Money is about wealth and corruption among the super elite, focusing on American mogul and patriarch James Castman (Gleeson), who wields power and influence to expand his media empire and control his family. Riseborough, repped by CAA, Independent Talent and Untitled, will play Anna Elkin, Oxford educated and a self-made success who is an editor at a top NY newspaper. She will next be seen in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.
CBS was the big winner at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards ceremony last night, bagging 12 statuettes — more than CNN (3), NBC (2), and ABC (1) combined. PBS was CBS’ closest competition with 9 Emmys, followed by HBO’s 6. Sunday newsmag 60 Minutes scored half of CBS’ statuettes. CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley won 3 Emmys last night, the total wins for CBS Sunday Morning is 3 and it shared an award with CBS This Morning. (An earlier academy tally had incorrectly placed one of the newscast’s wins in the CBS Sunday Morning column). CBS’ award-winning reports covered a wide range of topics, from SEAL Team 6 to congressional lobbying to Glen Campbell’s farewell tour, to the front lines of Syria’s civil war.