HBO is making decisions on the three new comedy series that premiered last year. The pay cable network has opted not to order a second season of Family Tree. Also not going to second season is Hello Ladies, which will wrap the story of Stuart Pritchard (Stephen Merchant) and his group of friends with a special — similar to the way HBO ended Ricky Gervais’ Life’s Too Short. There is no final decision on medical comedy Getting On but it is expected to get a second-season renewal pending the sorting out of budget issues.
Unlike HBO’s dramas, which in many cases are big crowd-pleasers like True Blood and Game Of Thrones, its comedies, by design, have been very specific. None of the three freshman 2013 series – all with strong British pedigrees — have been as noisy as Girls for example, but they have been relatively well received (especially Getting On), and their viewership deliveries have been OK for the price point. Christopher Guest’s Family Tree, starring Chris O’Dowd, was originally designed for an arc. I hear being a co-producing with the BBC made a second installment even more complicated, contributing to HBO’s decision not to go forward. Read More »
HBO‘s Boardwalk Empire delivered 2 million viewers Sunday night at 9 PM — up 6% week over week, and cumed 2.6 million for the night across its two plays. At 10 PM, Eastbound & Down‘s fourth-season debut clocked 700,000 viewers and 1.1 million across two plays. The unveiling of Hello Ladiesscored 552,000 viewers at 10:30 PM, and 800,000 viewers for the night. The HBO series faced stiff competition from AMC. Its Breaking Bad series finale went out with a bang Sunday night, clocking 10.3 million viewers – a record for the AMC series. The finale skyrocketed 300% over last year’s finale in the demo, capping a historic run for the basic cable network. After that, an expanded Talking Bad delivered 4.4 million viewers. HBO’s series also had come up against the return of Showtime’s Homeland and launch of highly hyped Masters Of Sex.Homeland, opposite Boardwalk, had clocked 1.9 million viewers. That was up 9% from last fall’s Season 2 opener for the series’ most watched premiere yet. Following Homeland, the debut of Showtime’s new drama series Masters Of Sex drew 1 million viewers at 10 PM (1.4 million for the night). It tied the series premiere of Homeland as the second-biggest debut for a Showtime series behind this summer’s Ray Donovan (1.35 million), which had a larger lead-in (2.5 million, Dexter). Read More »
Pierre Lescure Named Honorary President of Dijon Film Meetings Former Canal Plus president Pierre Lescure has been named the honorary president of the annual Rencontres Cinématographiques de Dijon, set to take place next month in the French town. The executive, who was co-director general of Vivendi Universal following the French giant’s ill-fated acquisition of the studio in 2000, recently completed a government-commissioned study on anti-piracy laws and France’s fiercely protected Cultural Exception in the digital era. The film meetings in Dijon are organized by writers, directors and producers association ARP. The annual three-day confab includes several panels on issues facing the French and European film industry and regularly attracts heavy-hitters from the media and film sector as well as the Motion Picture Association and some of the U.S. guilds. Michel Hazanavicius is president of the org, but will be absent this year due to a scheduling conflict. VP Costa-Gavras will run the show in his stead. The event is set for October 24-26. Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Ricky Gervais‘ longtime writing partner and production collaborator Stephen Merchant insisted today at TCA that his new eight-episode HBO comedy series Hello Ladiesthat debuts on the network September 29 isn’t designed as his big move to step out of Gervais’ shadow and establish his own performing chops. “Not at all,” the shy, deadpan Merchant said. “It was actually HBO’s idea. They suggested a sitcom after seeing my standup act. And because Ricky has been in a relationship with his girlfriend Jane since he was like 20, and I have huge issues in my dating life, it just evolved as being my own.” Merchant stars, co-writes and directs the half-hour that casts him as a bumbling, gangly English web designer named Stuart who is transplanted to Los Angeles. It’s all about his hapless attempts to blend in with the sophisticated L.A. social scene and striking out with the ladies. Read More »
HBO has released the first teaser for its eight-episode series Hello Ladies. The comedy, co-written, directed by and starring The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant, is co-written with former Office writer-producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. All three exec produce. Merchant plays a gawky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Hello Ladies debuts on September 29. Below, Merchant and Nate Torrence exhibit their foot-in-mouth prowess while chatting up a pair of women in a bar:
HBO said today that Eastbound & Down’s upcoming fourth season will be its last. The previously announced eight-episode Season 4 of self-obsessed and self-destructive baseball player Kenny Powers, starring Danny McBride, will debut September 29. Sources says that after convincing McBride, Will Ferrell, Andy McKay and the show’s other producers to not end things at the conclusion of Season 3, HBO hoped that Eastbound would continue on past a fourth season. However, the Eastbound gang had decided that four cycles was enough. HBO also announced Thursday that the Larry David film Clear History will air August 10 and that Boardwalk Empirewill be back for its fourth season September 8. The cable network’s new comedy Hello Ladies, starring Stephen Merchant as a man looking for love in LA, will make its debut on September 29 in the 10 PM slot for an eight-episode first season right before Eastbound & Down.
Read the HBO Eastbound & Down release here:
NEW YORK, June 6, 2013 – EASTBOUND & DOWN, the raucous HBO comedy series from creators Danny McBride and Jody Hill, begins shooting its eight-episode fourth and final season tomorrow in North Carolina, with the season scheduled to launch SUNDAY, SEPT. 29 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT). McBride stars in the show as the irrepressible Kenny Powers, the former major league pitcher who is larger than life… and death.
In the third season of EASTBOUND & DOWN, which concluded in April 2012, Kenny Powers finally made it back to the majors and recaptured his former glory, only to fake his own death and run back home to his beloved April, the mother of his child. The upcoming fourth season picks up the action several years later and finds Kenny living the American Dream with his family in North Carolina.
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky have signed a new two-year overall deal with ABC Studios. The Office alums serve as executive producers/showrunners on two new comedy series sold under their previous deal with the studio, Trophy Wife at ABC and Hello Ladies at HBO. Additionally, Eisenberg and Stupnitsky, who wrote the 2011 feature Bad Teacher, executive produced Sony TV’s comedy pilot adaptation, which nears a midseason series order at CBS. “Lee and Gene are hugely prolific and quite possibly the hardest working comedy writers out there today,” said ABC Studios SVP Development Patrick Moran. “We are thrilled to have them attached to our new comedy Trophy Wife.”
Over the last two years, Eisenberg and Stupnitsky developed projects at ABC, FX, HBO and Comedy Central through their Quantity Entertainment. Emily Brecht, who has been with the company since 2011, is being promoted to Director of Development and will oversee day-to-day operations. She previously worked at the Department of Defense. “As a policy, we always look to hire employees who are smarter than us,” Eisenberg and Stupnitsky said. “That said, we look forward to Quantity’s next chapter as Emily becomes a principal partner and eventually ousts us.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has given an eight-episode series order to Hello Ladies, its comedy pilot co-written, directed by and starring Stephen Merchant. The project, which The Office co-creator co-wrote with former Office writer-producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, stars the 6 foot-7 Merchant as a gawky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Half as charming as he thinks he is — and twice as desperate — he’s obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people. Unfortunately the beautiful people won’t let him in. Merchant, who also explored the theme in his Hello Ladies standup show last year, Eisenberg and Stupnitsky executive produce the series, which HBO is producing in association with ABC Studios. Eisenberg and Stupnitsky are under an overall deal at ABC Studios, which blessed their involvement in the project, including its sale to HBO. The Hello Ladies pilot co-starred Christine Woods, Nate Torrence and Kevin Weisman. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After a lengthy casting process, Christine Woods (FlashForward) has landed the female lead opposite Stephen Merchant in Hello Ladies, HBO’s comedy pilot co-written, directed by and starring Merchant. The project stars the 6′-7″ Merchant as Stephen, a gawky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Half as charming as he thinks he is — and twice as desperate — he’s obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people. Unfortunately the beautiful people won’t let him in. I hear Woods will play Jessica, an occasional actress who rents Stephen’s guest house from him. She denies that there is any chemistry between them and always gives Stephen a hard time in a light-hearted way. In the pilot, Woods joins recently cast Nate Torrence and Kevin Weisman. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Nate Torrence (She Is Out of My league) and Alias alum Kevin Weisman are set to co-star opposite Stephen Merchant in Hello Ladies, HBO’s comedy pilot co-written, directed by and starring Merchant. The project, which The Office co-creator co-wrote with former Office writer-producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (Bad Teacher), stars the 6′-7″ Merchant as Stephen, a gawky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE:HBO has picked up to pilot Hello Ladies, a comedy co-written, directed by and starring Stephen Merchant. The project, which The Office co-creator co-wrote with former Office writer-producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, stars the 6ft 7in Merchant as a gawky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Half as charming as he thinks he is — and twice as desperate — he’s obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people. Unfortunately the beautiful people won’t let him in. Merchant, who also explored the theme in his Hello Ladies standup show last year, Eisenberg and Stupnitsky are executive producing the pilot, which is slated to shoot before the end of the year. HBO is producing in association with ABC Studios where Eisenberg and Stupnitsky are under an overall deal. On the feature side, Eisenberg and Stupnitsky, repped by WME and Mosaic, co-wrote box-office hit Bad Teacher. Writer/actor/standup comedian Merchant is best known for his collaborations with Ricky Gervais. The duo co-created The Office, Extras and Life’s Too Short, the last two co-produced and airing in the U.S. on HBO. Additionally, WME-repped Merchant co-starred opposite Gervais on Extras. In addition to Hello Ladies, HBO has Charles Randolph’s Cold War spy drama pilot.