Last year, episode 3 of Downton Abbey‘s Season 3 pulled in 9.66M viewers on ITV1 for what was at the time the 3rd most-watched episode ever of the period drama in the UK. Season 4 so far hasn’t pulled in those numbers, and last night, the show’s 3rd episode of the new season saw a drop to 9.2M. That’s a 400K decrease on last week’s 9.6M. The season debut, on September 22nd, drew 9.5M viewers for the best UK premiere episode of the hit show’s run thus far. Downton had increased competition last night: it was up against Homeland in its Season 3 UK debut on Channel 4 which drew 2.2M viewers, according to The Guardian.
Fox‘s The Simpsons will be pushing Showtime‘s Homeland tonight in “Homerland,” the toon’s 25th season premiere episode. Kristen Wiig guests as an FBI agent who taps Lisa to investigate Homer’s suspicious behavior after he returns from a nuclear power plant operating convention. An hour after “Homerland” airs, Homeland‘s Season 3 debuts on Showtime opposite Fox’s post-Simpsons Family Guy/American Dad block. Here’s a full preview clip of tonight’s unusual crossover (beware autoplay):
Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, Australia Set ‘Homeland’ Season Bows; Travel Channel Orders Jonathan Phang Series; More
UK, Australia Won’t Wait Long For Season 3 Of ‘Homeland’
The UK’s Channel 4 has set an October 6 start for Season 3 of Homeland. The show airs at 9 PM and will get to Britain one week after its U.S. debut on Showtime on September 29. Meanwhile, folks in Australia will get to stream the first episode online while it’s airing in the States. Oz newspaper The Age says that Network Ten is using the stunt to launch its new streaming platform, tenplay. Ten will stream the episode from 2.15 PM Sydney time on Monday, September 30, to any internet user in Australia. That’s 9:15 PM Sunday night in LA, so the show will be on a 15-minute delay. So far the experiment only covers the first episode with the broadcaster waiting to gauge response before making plans for further first-run streaming. The regular season is planned for 8:30 PM Mondays.
Travel Channel Orders ‘Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Express’
Travel Channel has commissioned new six-part series, Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Express. The cooking show will follow Phang as he journeys on some of the world’s most iconic trains, including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Eastern & Orient Express, for a series of culinary adventures. Each episode will feature stops along the route to explore different foods and cultures. The series premieres in February and rolls out on Food Network in various markets later in the year. Transparent Television produces.
Showtime is already prepping for the return of its hit drama Homeland by staging a Season 2 marathon this weekend ahead of the Season 3 premiere Sunday at 9 PM. But Fox is doing its part too with the Season 25 premiere of The Simpsons, which will air and hour before Homeland starts. Titled “Homerland”, the episode centers on Lisa enlisting the service of a jumpy FBI agent to discover why Homer seems to have “turned” since coming back from a nuclear power plant operating convention. Kristen Wiig voices the agent, so you get the idea where this is going. Here’s the special intro to the episode:
Here’s the official trailer for Season 3 of Homeland which returns on Sunday, September 29. The new season focuses on the fallout from the CIA headquarters bombing. Lines are blurred between friend and foe as Carrie (Claire Danes) searches for the truth behind the attacks while Saul (Mandy Patinkin) leads a global manhunt for Brody (Damian Lewis). Homeland is coming off two Emmy wins last weekend. Danes got her second best actress in a drama Emmy for her role as CIA agent Carrie Mathison and the series also won for outstanding writing for a drama series. Check out the trailer:
Diane Haithman is a contributor to Deadline’s TV coverage.
It was an emotional moment at the Emmys when the late Henry Bromell won a posthumous writing Emmy for Homeland’s intense and grueling ”Q&A” episode. Unfortunately his wife, Sarah Bromell, was only allowed a brief onstage moment. “I accept this award on behalf of Henry with deep appreciation for the Academy,” she said. “Thank you so much.” And as Homeland star Claire Danes accepted her second consecutive Emmy for lead actress in a drama, she said of Bromell, who died in March, “He was a brilliant person and so kind, and we think of him every day on a show that help define.”
While no stats were immediately available from the Academy, posthumous wins are extremely rare in any category. The last one is thought to be actress Diana Hyland in 1977 for The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Last year, Kathryn Joosten netted a posthumous Emmy nom for supporting actress for Desperate Housewives.
Related: Nikki Finke Live-Snarks 65th Emmys
Showtime’s Homeland has decided to move to Morocco the filming of third-season scenes that were planned to be shot in Israel, Israeli news outlet Ynet reports. The move was made due to concerns about the situation in Syria, and the show’s American producers informed the producers in Israel of their decision over the weekend, the news outlet said, quoting an unnamed Israeli producer who called the switch “frustrating.” Plans originally included shooting parts of the third season in Israel, as had been portions of the show’s first and second seasons, UK’s Telegraph reported from Tel Aviv. Producers of the show announced at a news conference in July that they were planning to return to Israel to shoot scenes for the final episodes of the coming season, according to multiple news reports from that month. Fox 21, which produces the series, confirmed Israel was considered as a location for the third season, which debuts on Showtime in less than two weeks; the studio did not elaborate.
The move to Morocco is not entirely surprising, Ynet noted, given that FX’s plot Tyrant, from Homeland‘s Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff, will be filmed there. Tensions have run high in Israel over the possibility of retribution from a potential U.S. military strike on Syria, Telegraph reported, adding that citizens have scrambled to buy gas masks and clear out air raid shelters. Homeland is scheduled to return for a third season September 29.
Showtime‘s Homeland became the latest victim of online piracy today when the show’s Season 3 premiere was leaked ahead of its September 29 debut. Over 100K users of file-sharing protocol BitTorrent have pirated the episode via various piracy sites within hours of its upload, reports TorrentFreak. Homeland producer 20th Century Fox has its anti-piracy unit working on the issue. Showtime widely distributed screeners of its Homeland Season 3 premiere episode to press last month at TCA, although the leaked version is reportedly a workprint missing VFX and opening credits. A spokesperson for BitTorrent says true download numbers are not trackable on the company’s official site except to the original uploader. The company is making continuing efforts to shake its reputation as a piracy site by teaming with content creators on co-branded campaigns, most recently on Converge Studios’ TV series Fly Or Die which generated over a million legit downloads after launching last month.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
In the “what a difference a year makes” category, consider the case of AMC’s Mad Men. In August 2012, the drama series category chatter was all about whether Mad Men could make Emmy history by winning its fifth top drama trophy in succession. Then the Showtime thriller Homeland stepped up to steal the thunder (and the statuette) in its first season. This time around, the favorites are instead Mad Men’s fellow AMC hour Breaking Bad and Homeland, which looks to repeat. Standing in their way are repeat nominees Game Of Thrones and Downton Abbey as well as newbie House Of Cards, the freshman drama that represents a true wild card for Netflix on its maiden Emmy voyage.
It took The Sopranos until its fifth season to win best drama, too. And this looks to be Breaking Bad’s time. Plus, the show is premiering its final eight episodes just as ballots are starting to hit mailboxes. It’s got the buzz factor going in spades.
Shows simply aren’t supposed to win their first series Emmy on their fourth try, and rarely do. Moreover, too many members of the TV Academy could be turned off by the show’s perpetually dark, gritty, violent tone.
Showtime has declassified the first trailer for the upcoming third season of its Emmy-winning drama starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin. Watch for Senate hearings; a hoodied, Heisenberg-esque Brody; his media-besieged teenage daughter; a possible conversion to Islam; an apology from Saul to Carrie; and plenty of gunplay — all set to the Cinematic Orchestra’s mournful “To Build a Home.” Homeland returns September 29:
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Following Showtime‘s executive session today at TCA, the network’s entertainment president David Nevins was asked about potential cast turnovers on Homeland. “Anything is possible in television, so I would not rule it out,” he said. Deadline later asked Nevins if there is potentially a scenario in which stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis leave Homeland early. “Absolutely,” he said. “Do I think it’s conceivable that the show outlives Carrie Mathison and Nicholas Brody? Absolutely… There you go.” Is such a departure imminent? “No, and I mean no spoiler by that. I would not conclude there is a blockbuster in Season 3. But if you’re going to commit yourself to being unpredictable and going where the story takes you, you’ve got to commit yourself to being unpredictable and going where the story takes you.” So nobody on Homeland is safe or sacred? “Exactly.”
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
A little bit of a SPOILER ALERT is perhaps in order regarding the first two episodes of season three of the Showtime drama hit Homeland, which returns in originals on September 29. It isn’t about the plotline per se. It’s about star Damian Lewis, who won an Emmy in 2012 and is nominated again for his wrenching performance as Brody. It was revealed this afternoon during a TCA Homeland panel that Lewis won’t be seen in the first two episodes of the season, screeners of which were provided for critics. It baffled those in the room, and is probably unprecedented, that an actor who won the Emmy for lead actor in the drama should simply not appear in the first pair of episodes of the subsequent season. Co-showrunner Alex Gansa explained that the Brody disappearance is strictly a function of the story and shouldn’t be interpreted as indicative of the actor’s participation in the show beyond episode two. “It’s about where the story was taking us,” Gansa said. He was then asked by a critic if it would be a betrayal of those involved in the series were those in the room to report that Lewis is a no-show through at least those first two hours of the season. “No,” Gansa replied, “but it would be a betrayal to actually say when he’s back in the show.” Homeland won six Emmys in its first year of awards eligibility last year, including hitting the trifecta of outstanding drama series as well as for its two leads (Lewis and Claire Danes). How does Lewis feel about his early season absence? “Hey, these guys have been trying to kill me since the end of episode one,” he quipped, “when I had a stay of execution.” He said that he wasn’t surprised by the way the season opened for him, finding it to be “completely in line with the idea that you must be ruthless with story and character.”
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage
Homeland executive producer Howard Gordon this morning called the nomination of Henry Bromell for the intense “Q&A” episode of Showtime’s political drama the “sweetest moment” of the Emmy nominations. “It was a terrible loss,” he said of executive producer Bromell’s death in March of a heart attack at 66.
In an earlier interview, executive producer Alex Gansa called the “Q&A” episode “the heart of Season 2. It’s the episode where Clare has to turn Brody, to deprogram him. They’re in a windowless room together, hashing out the truth. The interrogation was originally written as three separae sequences, but Henry, the actors and director Lesli Linka Glatter decided to shoot it in one continuous scene. The first take lasted 26 minutes. It became this chamber piece, a play.” He added: “Henry was the humanist heart of our writing room. I don’t think anyone else could have found so much vulnerability is what was basically a procedural scene between a CIA officer and a terrorist. Henry could really drill down to the heart of a show — this relationship between two very damaged people in a post 9/11 world.”
Bold And The Beautiful and All My Children alum William deVry will be heading to ABC’s General Hospital this month. The actor, who’s recently appeared on CW shows Nikita and Beauty And The Beast, will play Derek Wells in a run starting on the soap’s July 30 episode. DeVry also recurs on Netflix’s Hemlock Grove. He is repped by Rothman/Andres Entertainment.
William Abadie (Ugly Betty, Samantha Who) has landed a role on Showtime’s Homeland. He’ll play Alan Bernard, a seemingly charming international journalist in a multiple episode Season 3 arc. The series returns September 29. Abadie is repped by Station3 Entertainment.
‘Unforgettable’ Ups James Liao And Tawny Cypress To Regulars, ‘Covert Affairs’ Adds Zuleikha Robinson As Recurring
New additions to CBS’ crime drama Unforgettable, James Laio and Tawny Cypress, have been promoted to regulars. The two were originally cast in March for recurring roles on the upcoming second season of Unforgettable. That brings the number of regulars on the show back to 6, with Laio, Cypress and fellow new castmember Dallas Roberts joining returning stars Poppy Montgomery, Dylan Walsh and Jane Curtin. Michael Gaston, Kevin Rankin and Daya Vaidya departed as regulars after Season 1. Laio plays Jay, a detective with expertise in a wide range of technical subjects in the Major Cases Section of the NYPD; Cypress plays Murray, a former decorated FBI agent who begins work at the Major Cases Section of the NYPD. Unforgettable, from Sony TV and CBS Studios, returns July 28.
EXCLUSIVE: Tracy Letts is getting a quick promotion on Homeland. The Tony- and Pulitzer-winning actor-playwright, who was tapped for a recurring role on the upcoming third season of the Showtime drama a week ago, has now been upped to a series regular. He will play the role of Sen. Andrew Lockhart, the powerful, authoritative, and commanding Committee Chairman asking tough questions as the government’s investigation begins in the wake of the horrific terror attack that decimated the U.S. intelligence apparatus, and prompted a global manhunt for the world’s most wanted terrorist — Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis). Letts is the first new series regular to join the cast of Homeland for Season 3. The Emmy-winning series also recently promoted recurring players F. Murray Abraham and Sarita Choudhury to regular.
EXCLUSIVE: With Brody headed out of the country in the second-season finale of Showtime’s Homeland, Carrie won’t have to rely as heavily on her off-the-books snoop extraordinaire Virgil. David Marciano has played the role since the pilot, recurring in Season 1 and promoted to regular in Season 2. Now I’ve learned the actor won’t return to the Emmy-winning series as a regular next season. though he may still appear on the show as a recurring guest star.
Marciano is the second Homeland cast member who won’t continue as regulars on Season 3, alongside Diego Klattenhoff. Three other regulars in Season – David Harewood, Jamie Sheridan and Navid Negahban — are leaving as their characters got killed off. The five shared in Homeland‘s best drama series ensemble SAG nomination this year. The rest of Homeland‘s regular cast, led by Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin and Morena Baccarin, will likely return in their previous capacity. As for where Brody (Lewis) is headed, while he was last seen crossing the border into Canada, rumor is he may surface in Venezuela in the opening episodes of Season 3.
Gideon Raff, creator of the original Israeli drama Prisoners Of War and the writer and exec producer of its Emmy-winning U.S. version Homeland, says he doesn’t know how the series’ story will end. But Bert Salke, the president of Fox 21, which produces Homeland, says he thinks the writers have a “sense of where they want Carrie to be in six years.” It needs to be remembered that the story really started with Claire Danes’ CIA agent, Salke said. At a panel for a small group of journalists here at Mip-TV today, Salke also noted that Danes and co-stars Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin have input and “influence the characters.” Homeland was renewed for a third season in October.
Talking of the genesis of the original Prisoners Of War (Hatufim in Israel), Jerusalem-born Raff explained the subject was “taboo” in his home country because there are 1,500 current prisoners of war and when any POW returns, there is a severe reticence to “know what happens to them.” Prisoners Of War was the first time such a subject had been broached on local television and “in the beginning we kind of got flack for exploiting the subject for ratings, I guess, which was a ridiculous argument. But once people saw the show, the arguments subsided,” Raff said. Now, there is controversy over Prisoners Of War, which recently concluded its second season, as did Homeland, “but it’s about the show, not the subject.”
Salke said that when Fox originally optioned Prisoners Of War for 24 alums Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, “it was thought of as a network show.” Salke says he “immediately thought it was cable. You can do so many different things on cable.” Homeland was a “tough call” for Fox chairman Kevin Reilly. “People were scared”, and because of the terrorism and counter-terrorism aspects of the show it was hard to tell where the show was going, so they approached pay channels. Showtime’s David Nevins and Matt Blank “got it right away,” per Salke. Ran Tellem, who is VP Programming at the series’ Israeli broadcaster Keshet, concurred that “half the people” at the Prisoners Of War broadcaster initially “thought we couldn’t do it. We had a POW at the time.”