UPDATE, 11:08 AM: They are getting ready to truly hug it out in front of the cameras. “January 16 start date. Getting pumped,” tweeted Entourage director Doug Ellin today. He also posted a photo of the primary cast, including Jeremy “Ari Gold” Piven and Adrian “Vincent Chase” Grenier, all together. That January start date means that Vinnie Chase and his crew will still be keeping the 20% tax credit that movie of the HBO series got from the California Film Commission program earlier this year – something Warner Bros was very insistent on not losing if the $30 million-budget pic was to go forward.
PBS has purchased a second season of Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven as the American entrepreneur who founded UK’s Selfridge department store. The second season will air on PBS’s Masterpiece Classic franchise in ’14. PBS says the first season was sampled by 15 million viewers over its eight episodes; …
Ari Gold returns to U.S. TV screens on Sunday, sans BlackBerry and decked out in a three-piece suit — though it won’t be a Brioni. PBS/Masterpiece will debut department store period drama Mr. Selfridge at 9 PM with Jeremy Piven playing the real-life ‘Mile a Minute Harry Selfridge’, the impresario who changed the way women shopped in early 1900s London. Whether the show can take the U.S. by storm, à la PBS mega-hit Downton Abbey, will come to bear over the first series’ run of 10 episodes. But as much as “period drama” has become a sort of blanket term, there are stark differences to the two shows. Both air in the UK on ITV, and The Guardian compared Selfridge to Downton upon its January UK debut, saying, “You can sit back and relax and not expect anyone to die suddenly without warning — only a minor altercation in the ladies glove department.”
Selfridge is an in-house ITV Studios production that garnered strong ratings from the outset in the UK, averaging over 8M viewers during its run from January through March. (It also beat the BAFTA Awards on February 10 despite the kudocast grabbing its highest numbers in a decade.) Downton Abbey, for its third season, had consolidated ratings averaging 11.9M.
The series is set in Selfridge’s department store, the shopping mecca that American entrepreneur Harry Selfridge built in 1909 and which still stands today on Oxford Street. The cast of characters includes shopgirls, socialites and a sexy (male) French window-dresser. At a screening of the first episode late last year, Piven said playing Selfridge was like “artistic sorbet.” At a TCA panel in January, he said he felt no competition pressure with Downton. “I feel like I willed this job to happen because I was such a fan of that show… I think there’s a great deal of camaraderie there.” It will be interesting to see the response given how strongly U.S. viewers equate the actor to his multiple Emmy-winning role in Entourage. Reviews in the UK, where it’s safe to say audiences are less familiar with “hugging it out”, have been largely positive apart from a few claims of hammy acting. The Guardian called it “polished, lavish, enjoyable period stuff” and of the series finale, The Arts Desk wrote: “Mr. Selfridge has had periodically decent thesping and plenty of visual glamour, but frocks alone do not a drama make.”
At a PBS TCA panel last month, Mr Selfridge creator Andrew Davies said that while no decision had been made on a second season, he’d already written the first episodes and was “very confident” of a renewal. He had reason to be. ITV today commissioned 10 more hourlong episodes of the period drama that stars Jeremy Piven as entrepreneur and department store revolutionary Harry Selfridge. Shooting starts in April in Greater London and Kent for a 2014 airdate that will coincide with the centenary of World War I. The first season kicks off on PBS next month.
Since launching on ITV in January, the show has a consolidated average audience of 8.5M and drew 9.4M to its peak episode. The second season will be set in 1914, just ahead of the Great War, and will add new castmembers. Also, joining Davies as lead writers will be Kate Brooke (Case Sensitive, Making Of A Lady) and Kate O’Riordan (The Bad Mother’s Handbook, The Kindness Of Strangers).
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Today’s TCA panel on PBS’ new Masterpiece Classic series Mr. Selfridge — a period drama starring Jeremy Piven as real-life department store entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge — was haunted by the ghost of Downton Abbey. On March 31, the new drama will join the megahit Downton on Sunday nights, so it is not surprising that Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton announced at the top of the session that the premiere of Mr. Selfridge on Britain’s ITV a couple of weeks ago rated higher that the premiere of “that other show.”
Creator Andrew Davies said on the panel that no decision has been made on a second season but “I’ve already written the first [episodes] of Season 2. We should hear very soon. We’ve done such good numbers in the UK; I’m very confident.” He said that in his mind, he’s up for four seasons: “Are you up for it, Jeremy?” he joked. Replied Piven: “I certainly hope I have the job, yeah. To be replaced at this point would be very disappointing. And confusing. It could be like Darrin on Bewitched, I guess.”
During the panel that featured Piven, Davies and co-stars Zoe Tapper and Frances O’Connor., Eaton stressed the differences between Selfridge (based on the nonfiction book by Lindy Woodhead) and Downton. She said that while both shows have “gorgeous people, money, life and death, seduction,” this story is based on reality. Plus she said, the department store world is a different “precinct beside the country house and the house in town. I don’t know why it hasn’t been done before.”
Related: TV Trailer: ‘Mr. Selfridge’
After the panel, she acknowledged that Masterpiece would love to repeat Downton’s success with a similar show. “We’re adding another member. It’s always risky and I think its inevitable that you want to do more of what works,” she said. “So when there is a hit show like Downton, I think there’s an enormous urge to capitalize on the attention it brings Masterpiece and to build on the audience that we’ve attracted, this seemed like kind of a perfect fit. But you have to vary it. It’s not another country house.”
ITV just released a trailer for the upcoming drama series Mr. Selfridge starring Jeremy Piven. In July, Masterpiece/WGBH joined ITV Studios as co-producer on the series, which will air in the U.S. under PBS’ Masterpiece banner. Piven stars as the flamboyant American entrepreneur and UK …
Earlier this month, my colleague Nellie Andreeva exclusively reported that Jeremy Piven was in negotiations to star in the upcoming ITV drama series Mr. Selfridge. Today, ITV confirms that the former Entourage star will play the flamboyant and visionary American entrepreneur, Harry Gordon Selfridge (aka “Mile a Minute Harry”) who launched the famous London department store, Selfridge’s. The show is set in 1909 and chronicles Harry’s effort to make shopping as thrilling as sex for the era’s newly-empowered women. The show is based on the book Shopping, Seduction And Mr Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead and was created by Andrew Davies (Bridget Jones’ Diary). A full press release, along with further casting, is below:
Award-winning actor JEREMY PIVEN (Entourage) will lead the cast as American entrepreneur, Harry Gordon Selfridge, in new drama Mr Selfridge (working title), about the life of the flamboyant and visionary American entrepreneur, produced by ITV Studios for ITV1.
Created by multi-award winning writer Andrew Davies, Mr Selfridge tells the story of ‘Mile a Minute Harry’, a man with a mission to make shopping as thrilling as sex. Pioneering and reckless, with an almost manic energy, he created a theatre of retail where any topic or trend that was new, exciting, entertaining – or sometimes just eccentric – was showcased.
The latest feature from the UK’s Wallace & Gromit gang Aardman Animations arrives in the US in partnership with Sony Pictures Animation. Directed by Peter Lord and co-directed by Jeff Newitt, the stop-motion 3D adventure is based on books by Gideon Defoe, who also scripted. With the voices of Hugh …