EXCLUSIVE: Forget the affable Frasier Crane; Kelsey Grammer is embracing his inner bad guy. After his Golden Globe turn as the ruthless politician in Boss, Grammer has just landed the key villain role in Michael Bay‘s next Transformers film, which also stars Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci. I’m told that Grammer will play Harold Attinger, a counter intelligence guy. Now, Grammer has been in big films before–he played The Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand–but he moved to UTA a couple of months ago, hoping to get more feature opportunities and the agency certainly came through. He’s also managed by Brian Sher. The film begins production in July, from a script by Ehren Kruger. Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Ian Bryce, Tom DeSanto and Don Murphy are the producers.
2ND UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 1 PM: UTA has confirmed that it has signed Kelsey Grammer and will rep the actor for film and television as well as his Grammnet production company.
UPDATE, TUESDAY 7 PM: I’ve learned that Kelsey Grammer has indeed signed with UTA, returning to the …
EXCLUSIVE: It would be the biggest star pairing on a TV series in a long long time. Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence are considering pairing up to star in and produce a multi-camera comedy together for Lionsgate TV and its subsidiary Debmar-Mercury. We hear it started with a November meeting right before Thanksgiving between Grammer, Lawrence and Lionsgate where the two actors showed great chemistry. The pair are repped by different agencies: Grammer by WME, and Lawrence by UTA. But Grammer’s financial settlement with recently divorced wife Camille wasn’t yet finalized and he ordered everybody not to discuss the project until it was. (We hear the concern was that Camille might try to lay claim to the project. She reportedly owned half of Grammnet Productions with its television shows including Girlfriends, Medium, and The Game and worked as a creator, writer, and executive producer within the production company.) That financial settlement finalized right before Christmas and now the project is on a fast track. In the past few weeks, the studio has quietly sent out feelers to writers. In coming weeks, the studio will start meeting with potential creators/showrunners to pin down a concept for the buddy series which sources say may have an “odd couple” feel.
There won’t be a third season of Starz‘s acclaimed drama Boss starring Kelsey Grammer and created by Farhad Safinia. However, I’ve learned exclusively that there are discussions between the pay cable network and Boss producer Lionsgate TV about possibly doing a two-hour movie that would wrap up the story of Chicago Mayor Tom Kane, played by Grammer. “After much deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to not proceed with (a third season of) Boss,” said Starz in a statement Tuesday. “We remain proud of this award-winning show, its exceptional cast and writers, and are grateful to Kelsey Grammer, Farhad Safinia and our partners at Lionsgate TV.”
Ratings-wise, Boss was soft but relatively steady. The series premiered to 659,000 viewers in October 2011. Season 2, which was ordered before Boss‘ series debut, opened with 317,000 viewers this past August, down 52% from Season 1, but subsequently recovered. It averaged 937,000 viewers over its weekend premiere airings on the Starz flagship channel and around 2.4 million across all platforms per episode. That was down slightly from Season 1 (1.1 million, 3 million). But Boss brought cachet to Starz, earning critical praise. It earned the first major awards nominations for the pay cable network, winning a Golden Globe for star Grammer who probably delivered the strongest performance of his career in Boss. Additionally, the show developed strong following by a small but devoted fan base. Its ratings performance was probably hampered by the fact it didn’t have a strong lead-in as Starz doesn’t have enough original series to go around, and that it aired on low-trafficked Friday night. (Though the network puts emphasis on a series’ cumed weekend viewership). Going into Season 2, the show beefed up the cast with new additions Sanaa Lathan, Jonathan Groff and T.I. while keeping its status as one of the less expensive Starz series. However, unlike Magic City, whose first season did only marginally better than Season 1 of Boss, the Grammer-starring drama was not owned by Starz, with Lionsgate TV controlling international and DVD rights.
MTV has put in development Blackwood, a drama from Lionsgate Television and Kelsey Grammer’s Grammnet Prods. It is based on the young adult book of the same name by Gwenda Bond, which was published this past September on the Strange Chemistry YA imprint of UK-based science fiction publisher Angry Robot Books. DC Comic book and television writer Peter Calloway (Brothers & Sisters) will write the adaptation. Blackwood centers on 19-year-old Miranda Blackwood who, when 114 people, including her father, suddenly vanish off Roanoke Island, begins to investigate the mass disappearance, teaming with her high school sweetheart. But she makes a chilling discovery when she uncovers that she’s at the center of not only this mystery, but one that traces back to the first American mystery: the disappearance of 114 people at what would be called The Lost Colony.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
A first unfolded this morning during the TCA session promoting the Starz political drama Boss, which has its second season premiere on Aug. 17. Star Kelsey Grammer took a phone call on his cell phone during the panel. And it wasn’t a case of his cellphone ringing and him shutting it off in embarrassment. No, he took the call and spent some 90 seconds speaking with, as it turned out, his wife. “Wait, let me get this, one second”, Grammer began. “Hello? Oh hi honey…I’m onstage right now but go ahead…Oh, that sounds great…Huh? Oh sure, OK…” On in went, with Grammer making plans and reciting for his wife a phone number. The reporters and critics had a good laugh. But one closed the panel by asking, in all seriousness, why Grammer took the call. “Well, some things are more important than others”, he pointed out. “The well being of my wife sits atop the charts.” That drew some scattered applause.
Kelsey Grammer is no stranger to the Emmy Awards. He’s won four for his career-defining role of Frasier Crane in the long-running sitcom Frasier. He won another for his moonlighting job of voicing Sideshow Bob on an even longer-running sitcom, The Simpsons. But the actor/producer/director – he’s received Emmy and/or DGA Awards nominations in all three fields – got his start in acting by performing Shakespeare. And he shows he’s much more than simply a comedy star by playing powerful, doomed Chicago mayor Tom Kane in Boss, the very serious drama series on Starz that earned him a surprise Golden Globe earlier this year. As Grammer reveals here, Shakespeare was indeed part of the source material for Boss.
AWARDSLINE: Tom Kane is an extraordinary character, really different from anything that I’ve seen on TV in recent years. He’s really quite Shakespearean.
KELSEY GRAMMER: Well he was a Shakespeare-based kind of character. We wanted to build him a world, at least a minor fiefdom. A kingdom of sorts. A feudal, violent and seething kingdom. That was the kind of guy we wanted to explore.
EXCLUSIVE: Boss executive producers/co-showrunners Richard Levine and Lyn Greene are exiting Starz’ new drama series, which was renewed for a second season last month ahead of its premiere last night. The former Nip/Tuck executive producers shepherded the 8-episode first …
In a strategy to build interest in the new Kelsey Grammer series Boss, Starz beginning today is making the premiere episode available for sampling to 76 million households across multiple platforms in the runup to the October 21 debut. Grammer plays Tom Kane, hardened Machiavellian mayor of Chicago who finds himself struggling with a potentially debilitating medical problem he desperately wants to keep secret. Connie Nielsen plays his wife and Martin Donovan plays his political advisor. Viewers can watch the full debut episode directed by Gus Van Sant on www.starz.com/boss and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/boss.starz and on-demand or online via multiple cable or telco and satellite outlets.
Deadline told you about the Kelsey Grammer Starz series Boss last fall, and now the network has confirmed everything, with Gus Van Sant set to make his TV directing debut. Not included in the release is that Troy Garity will join the series for a key story arc as …