In the face of stiff competition, Showtime‘s Shameless and House Of Lies wrapped their fourth and third seasons, respectively, with best-yet wrap-up stats. Shameless’s surprise finale — in which, during closing credits (SPOILER ALERT) Jack pulls up to the Gallagher household, looking for all the world like a resurrected Jimmy/Steve — delivered its biggest telecast of the season and highest-rated finale ever with 1.93 million viewers at 9 PM and 2.83 million viewers for the night, outperforming the Season 3 finale by 18% (2.39 million) and its Season 4 premiere by 23% (2.3 million). House Of Lies, meanwhile, ended its third season with 731,000 viewers at 10 PM and 1.4 million viewers for the night — the show’s best finale night ever, outperforming its Season 2 finale and Season 34 premiere by 16%; both had delivered 1.2 million viewers. It too was fraught with drama including (SPOILER ALERT) busy Marty Kaan about to be indicted and having admitted love to Jeannie, who comes off looking pretty bad.
Showtime has made 12-episode orders for a Season 5 of blue-collar dramedy Shameless and Season 4 of dark comedy House Of Lies to air in 2015. They join previously picked up comedy Episodes to complete a renewal of the network’s entire winter original lineup. Shameless, House Of Lies and Episodes air originals on Sunday night. Shameless‘ current fourth season is pacing as its highest-rated season yet, averaging 5.5 million weekly viewers across platforms, up 8% vs. Season 3. House Of Lies is averaging 3 million viewers per week across platforms, on par with its second season. The series starring two-time Emmy nominee Don Cheadle hit a season high last week.
The A team at Galweather & Stearn returns for Season 3 on January 12, but Showtime is offering up an appetizer of sorts. The bawdy comedy’s core four cast members — Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz and Josh Lawson – recently taped a longform improv with comics Lauren Lapkus, Ryan Gaul and Eugene Cordero and this season’s House Of Lies guest stars. The special will premiere online December 30, marking Showtime’s first original production to bow on that platform, and air on Showtime at 10 PM New Year’s Eve. Here’s a sneak peek at House Of Lies Live! — taped before a live audience at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles:
Singer/actor T.I. (Boss) will do a multiple-episode arc on the third season of the Showtime comedy series House Of Lies as Lukas, a clothing company co-owner with childhood friend “Dre” (guest star Mekhi Phifer), who enlist Marty (Don Cheadle) to help expand their empire. He is with UTA and Category 5 Entertainment’s Brian Sher.
Amir Arison (Homeland) has booked a recurring role on hit new NBC drama series The Blacklist, playing FBI Tech specialist Aram Mojtabi who is an enthusiastic, hardworking agent desperate to assimilate. Arison, repped by Bauman, Redanty and Shaul and Sweet 180, recurs in the upcoming 3rd season of HBO’s Girls.
Archie Kao has been cast as a new series regular on NBC’s midseason series Chicago PD. He’ll play Jin, who’s in charge of tech and surveillance at the CPD Intelligence Unit in the Chicago Fire spinoff. Kao is best known for his role as lab technician Archie Johnson on CSI from 2001-2012. On the film side, he most recently wrapped the Michael Mann-directed Cyber and stars in the upcoming Love Speaks and The Deathday Party, a genre film for theatrical release through China Film Group. Kao is repped by Global Artists Agency and Echelon Talent Management.
Genevieve Angelson has signed on to join Showtime’s House Of Lies, appearing in nine of the 12-episode third season. She’ll play Caitlyn, a young, naive, Ivy League-educated consultant who works for Marty (Don Cheadle) and is a new love interest for Doug (Josh Lawson). Angelson recently appeared on Broadway in the 2013 Tony Award-winning play Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike. She is with UTA and Suskin Management.
Happy Endings alumna Eliza Coupe, Bex Taylor-Klaus (The Killing), Rob Gleeson and Ryan Gaul have been cast in a recurring roles on the upcoming third season of Showtime‘s comedy series House Of Lies, joining recently added new recurring player Mekhi Phifer. Coupe will play Marissa, a wild-child Internet company head and heir to a wealthy media family. Taylor-Klaus, repped by the Corsa Agency and Curtis Talent Management, will play Lex, a badass genderqueer basketball player who connects with Marty’s (Don Cheadle) son Roscoe (Donis Leonard Jr.). She also recurs on The CW’s Arrow. Gleeson, repped by Innovative and Main Title, will play Jeffrey, a very quiet and intense numbers guy. Gaul is repped by Gersh, Think Tank Management and Jackoway/Tyerman.
EXCLUSIVE: ER alum Mekhi Phifer is joining the upcoming third season of Showtime‘s comedy series House Of Lies as a recurring. He will play Dre, a successful business mogul and clothing company founder who hires Marty (Don Cheadle) to help expand his empire. Season 3 of House Of Lies premieres January 12. Phifer is with Gersh and Brookside Artist Management.
Three weeks into the season, Showtime has renewed its entire current Sunday lineup: Drama Shameless for a fourth season, comedy House Of Lies for a third and veteran Californication for Season 7. The pickup comes as all three series are off to a strong start this season. They all returned on January 13 with their highest-rated episodes ever. The third season of Shameless is currently averaging 5.4 million weekly viewers across platforms, up 22% from last season and up 63% vs. Season 1. The second season of House Of Lies is averaging 3.2 million weekly viewers, up 10% from Season 1, and the sixth season of Californication is averaging 3.1 million weekly viewers, up 21% vs. season five. Production for the new seasons of all three series will kick-off in Los Angeles later this year for a 2014 launch. “Californication, House Of Lies and Shameless possess highly distinctive comedic voices, and given that all three continue to grow their audience season after season – the pick-up decision was easy,” said Showtime entertainment president David Nevins.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Premium cable channels enjoy the luxury of not having to worry as much as commercial TV about success in certain time slots, Showtime entertainment chief David Nevins said during today’s TCA Q&A with reporters. He pointed out that 65% of the Dexter audience watches the show at some time after its original airing.
But Showtime chose to focus on a time slot – an evening, that is — in presenting this afternoon’s panel featuring actors from its Sunday night series House of Lies (Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell), Californication (Evan Handler, Pamela Adlon) and Shameless (William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum).
The lively conversation ranged all over the map but at one point wandered to Macy’s short haircut, a marked difference from the filthy flowing locks his character sported when Shameless began (and the clean flowing locks the actor wore in the 2012 movie The Sessions). “I cut it off on the show, it was very dramatic,” the actor said, joking that after his buzz cut he enjoyed watching the faces of onlookers searching for something positive to say about his new look. “I got 7 hats for Christmas,” he added.
Of his character, the actor drew laughs by saying: “There is no low for this character. They have installed special low-cal scenery because I’ve been eating so much of it.”
EXCLUSIVE: Tony Sirico has been tapped for a recurring role on the Fox animated series Family Guy. He will voice Vinnie the Dog, a pooch with attitude and possible criminal ties that the Griffins buy from a pet shop. I hear Sirico also sings the theme song for next season with Family Guy creator/lead actor Seth MacFarlane and the rest of the series’ voice cast. Additionally, Sirico is set to voice Tony “Peanuts” Sirico in the Adult Swim animated pilot Colonel Wallace, about an eccentric Southern fried-chicken magnate. Sirico, repped by Bob McGowan, recently wrapped the feature Zarra’s Law and Nickelodeon movie Nicky Deuce.
EXCLUSIVE: Meet Marty’s brother. Rescue Me alum Larenz Tate has joined the cast of Showtime’s comedy House Of Lies in a recurring role. He will play Malcolm, the brother of Marty (Don Cheadle). Malcolm is smart and educated; he is also their father’s favorite and the ultimate sham artist. House Of Lies, which earned star Cheadle an Emmy nomination, kicks off its second season January 13. Tate, whose feature credits include Ray and Crash, is repped by APA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. He next stars in the upcoming BET movie Gun Hill.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
If the 2011-2012 TV schedule is any indication, girls just want to be funny. There are probably more new comedies created, co-created or executive-produced by women in primetime than at any time in history: 2 Broke Girls (Whitney Cummings), The B**** In Apartment 23 (co-creator Nahnatchka Khan) and Girls (Lena Dunham, 2011’s best first screenplay winner at the Independent Spirit Awards for Tiny Furniture). There are more who also might find themselves in the Emmy mix, and Awardsline spoke separately to some of them: Jessika Borsiczky, co-executive producer of Showtime’s House of Lies; Emily Kapnek, creator and co-executive producer of ABC’s Suburgatory; Elizabeth Meriwether, creator and co-executive producer of the Fox comedy New Girl and Emily Spivey, the Saturday Night Live veteran who created and is a co-executive producer of NBC’s Up All Night.
AWARDSLINE: There’s been a lot said about the new shows with women at the helm, especially in comedy. Certainly female comedy was a goldmine for the movies in 2011 with Bridesmaids. What’s going on?
EMILY SPIVEY: I think there just happened to be some ladies with ideas that people liked, I don’t think it was a big conspiracy to get a bunch of ‘lady shows’ on the air. The time has come when more ladies are trying comedy. In the past it was kind of a man thing, especially with stand-up. I think women are really finding their voices and being allowed to be a little more aggressive and speaking about topics that maybe a few years ago were a little more taboo than they are now.
JESSIKA BORSICZKY: We are sort of hitting a place where there’s some real seniority to women in television. When I started at HBO (in the movie division) in 1992 I certainly wasn’t running television shows, it took a long time. But obviously storytelling and movies reflect what’s interesting about our times. The universe of what it is to be a modern woman right now is deep, it’s changing, there’s a lot of fluctuation in family and marriage. Women are now out-earning men and out-educating men and having babies without men so there are a lot of stories to tell. And look at Girls, it’s also showing us a side of what it is to be a young woman that’s new.
UPDATED: AMC’s The Killing opened its second season with 1.8 million viewers tuning in for its two-hour premiere, 661,000 of them in the adults 18-49 demographic. That was down 33% and 26%, respectively, from the mystery series’ debut last April. The second season premiere was also down 22% from The Killing‘s first season finale. Was it a lingering backlash from the first season ending with no resolution? For the night, The Killing drew a total of 2.5 million viewers for the 8 PM and 11 PM airings. Last year’s impressive cume, 4.7 million, included 2 encores, at 11 PM and 1 AM. At 10 PM, Mad Men (2.9 million total viewers, 1.3 million adults 18-49) was down 17% in viewers from last week’s two-hour fifth season premiere, 19% in 18-49.
Meanwhile, the second season finale of Showtime’s Shameless drew 1.45 million viewers, up 26% from the Season 1 finale. Through 8 weeks of total data, Shameless‘ season two is running 29% above last season. The freshman season finale of House of Lies posted 775,000 viewers, down from the 1.03 million for the series premiere but up from the dark comedy’s most recent airings. Californication ended its fifth season with 768,000 viewers, up 40% from the Season 4 closer. No numbers yet for the second season premiere of HBO’s Game Of Throne last night.
After a strong start to the current season, Showtime has given an early renewal to its entire Sunday lineup of Shameless, House Of Lies and Californication. With the pickup of dark comedy House Of Lies, both of Showtime’s freshman series greenlighted by entertainment president David Nevins are going into a second season, along with drama hit Homeland. Shameless has been picked up for a third season, while Californication was renewed for a sixth. “These three shows are clearly resonating with audiences as evidenced by their steady growth on Sunday nights,” Nevins said. “We are extremely pleased with the creative work being done by the casts, producers and writers – and I so appreciate that each of these series has such a clear and distinctive voice.”
Showtime’s Sunday night lineup is posting double-digit year-over-year growth for its returning series and strong numbers for rookie House Of Lies. Shameless averages 4.75 million weekly viewers, up 30% vs. Season 1 to rank as Showtime’s No. 2-rated show behind only Dexter. House Of Lies is on track to be Showtime’s highest-rated comedy. Season 5 of Californication averages 2.96 million viewers across all platforms, up 10% from Season 4.