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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
When CBS chief Les Moonves appears at an investor event like this week’s UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference, they should just get him an orchestra and a spotlight so he can sing “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” “Everybody calls me a cheerleader but network television’s doing better than it’s done in many years,” he told analysts today. He says that CBS’ prices for ads in the scatter market are up “in the mid-teens” over the upfront, although “our competitors are doing not as well.” Heading into the holiday season ”demand is picking up again” and few are cancelling upfront orders for early 2012. “When you look at where our ratings are, you don’t want to cancel a CBS show because (later on) you’ll pay more.” To underscore his confidence in CBS’ finances, he threw some red meat to investors: ”Could we raise the dividend (next year)? That’s a possibility.”
He’s encouraged by the additional dollars flowing to the network from retransmission consent deals with pay TV distributors, and reverse compensation payments to CBS from its affiliates. If a local station balked at shelling out cash to CBS — which used to pay stations to carry its shows — then Moonves would consider yanking the affiliation agreement. But he says that’s unlikely because CBS’ strong primetime line up ”is making them a lot of money” by delivering large audiences to local newscasts. Meanwhile, he’d like the FCC not to require that network programming remain on pay TV when distributors balk at retransmission consent payments. ”This is America. We’ll make a deal with these guys or won’t make a deal.”