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TV TEASER: Starz’s New Drama ‘Boss’

By | Tuesday September 6, 2011 @ 2:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Starz today released a trailer for its new drama series Boss. It stars Kelsey Grammer as the ruthless mayor of Chicago who is diagnosed with a degenerative mental condition that only he and his doctor know about. Observers describe the show as the former Frasier star’s Bryan Cranston/Michael Chiklis moment, a reference to Grammer’s transition from playing a lovable sitcom leading man to portraying a flawed hero on a dark cable series similar to the leap Cranston and Chiklis took with their Emmy-winning roles on Breaking Bad and The Shield, respectively.

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TCA: Kelsey Grammer On His Dramatic Transformation In Starz’s ‘Boss’

Nellie Andreeva

Kelsey Grammer is taking a dark turn in his first drama series, Starz’s upcoming Boss, in which he stars as the ruthless mayor of Chicago who is diagnosed with a degenerative mental condition that only he and his doctor know about. The series, which premieres Oct. 21, marks Grammer’s return to television after a two-year break. “I took a break for a while, and there were a lot of reasons I did,” he said. “I decided I needed to make a life change.” As for the genre change from comedy to drama, it may have something to do with his experience on his most recent half-hour series, the short-lived ABC sitcom Hank. “Nobody really liked that,” Grammer said. “It wasn’t really funny.” Grammer even called Warner Bros. TV president Peter Roth. “I asked, ‘How do we put a bullet in this thing?’ ” The experience has been completely different on Boss. “It’s been probably the greatest time of my life, creatively,” Grammer said. “I have said some of the most extraordinary language I’ve said in my life doing this role.” Here is a trailer for the series, written by Farhad Safinia and directed by Gus Van Sant:

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USA Network Developing Half-Hour Comedy From Kelsey Grammer

By | Friday April 29, 2011 @ 5:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: TV Land successfully jump-started its half-hour comedy business with a sitcom from a former NBC comedy star, Sean Hayes’ Hot In Cleveland. Now USA Network is looking to do the same with Kelsey Grammer. As part of USA’s push in half-hour comedy, the network has bought the single-camera project The Dicocco Brothers, executive produced by Grammer through his Grammnet Prods. Written by Ed Cannistraci based on a story by him and his brother Chris Cannistraci, The Dicocco Brothers centers around an aspiring dot-com entrepreneur who moves to Silicon Valley with his Jersey family in tow. Ed Cannistraci is executive producing with Grammer, his Grammnet producing partner Brian Sher and Stella Stolper. USA signaled its intention to get back into half-hour comedies last May when it made its first script deal in the genre in more than a decade — a single-camera comedy from Designing Women creator Linda Bloodworth starring Ron White. The network has been very selective in its half-hour development and is yet to greenlight its first half-hour comedy pilot from the new push in the genre. Besides The Dicocco Brothers, Gremmnet is co-producing with Lionsgate the Starz drama series Boss, starring Grammer and exec produced by him, Sher and Stolper, which started production in Chicago this week. “We are thrilled to embark on one of USA’s first comedies with such a prestigious production company (Grammnet) and a truly unique voice (Cannistraci brothers),” said USA’s SVP original scripted … Read More »

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Starz Sets Production Start And Remaining Cast For Kelsey Grammer Series ‘Boss’

By | Wednesday April 20, 2011 @ 11:16am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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 a newspaper reporter.  Here’s the release:

Beverly Hills, Calif. – April 20, 2011 – Production begins April 27 in Chicago on “Boss,” an original dramatic series from STARZ and Lionsgate Television, starring TV icon Kelsey Grammer and with its first episode directed by acclaimed filmmaker Gus Van Sant in his TV helming debut. Over its eight-episode season, the show centers on the Machiavellian machinations of a fictional Chicago mayor with a dark secret and is set to premiere exclusively on STARZ in October 2011.

Joining Grammer, who will be making his first dramatic TV series debut as Chicago Mayor Tom Kane, in the main cast on “Boss” are Connie Nielsen (Gladiator, The Devil’s Advocate) as his wife Meredith, a formidable Chicago power in her own right; Jeff Hephner (“The O.C.,” “Hellcats,” “Easy Money”) as ambitious young politician Alex Zajac; Hannah Ware (Cop Out) as the Kanes’ estranged daughter Emma; and Kathleen Robertson (“Girls Club,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” Hollywoodland) as Mayor Kane’s supremely organized aide Kitty O’Neil.

“Boss” was created by Farhad Safinia (Apocalypto), who is also an executive producer on the series, along with Grammer, Van Sant, Brian Sher, Stella Stolper,

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Jeff Hephner To Co-Star On Starz’s ‘Boss’

By | Monday March 28, 2011 @ 10:31am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: It’s a happy ending to the pilot season for Jeff Hephner after all. The actor, who after grueling auditions landed the lead in NBC’s drama pilot Playboy but was replaced after the table read with Eddie Cibrian, has been tapped for a co-starring role opposite Kelsey Grammer on the Starz eight-episode drama series Boss. Coincidentally, like Playboy, the Lionsgate/Grammnet-produced Boss is set and filming in Chicago. Written by Farhad Safinia and directed by Gus Van Sant, Boss centers on Kane (Grammer), the mayor of Chicago, who is diagnosed with a degenerative mental condition that only he and his doctor know about. Hephner will play the state’s treasurer, an impeccably handsome and ambitious Chicago native who is clearly about to become a major player on the Chicago political scene. Hephner, repped by Paradigm and the Group Entertainment, is recurring on CW’s Hellcats and has also done arcs on NBC’s Mercy and Fox’s The O.C.

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Connie Nielsen To Star In Starz’s Drama Series ‘Boss’

By | Tuesday March 22, 2011 @ 10:52am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In her first regular series gig, Connie Nielsen will star opposite Kelsey Grammer in the Starz series Boss. In the 8-episode political drama, written by Farhad Safinia and directed by Gus Van Sant, Grammer stars as Kane, the Mayor of Chicago who is diagnosed with a degenerative mental condition that only he and his doctor know about. Nielsen will play his immaculately groomed wife Meredith who is a pro with the press and tough when she needs to be. Meredith and Kane have a bad marriage and barely speak when they aren’t in public. Denmark-born Nielsen, repped by UTA and Principal Entertainment, is best known for her starring role in Gladiator. On TV, she did a six-episode arc as the female lead on Law & Order: SVU, filling in for Mariska Hargitay during her maternity leave. Nielsen also played the title role in the 2008 A&E pilot Danny Fricke. Boss is produced by Lionsgate TV and executive produced by Safinia, Van Sant, Grammer, co-showrunners Richard Levine and Lyn Greene, Brian Sher and Stella Stolper.

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Kelsey Grammer To Direct Conan O’Brien-Produced Comedy Pilot ‘Vince Uncensored’

By | Wednesday March 16, 2011 @ 8:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Kelsey Grammer has signed on to direct CBS’ multicamera comedy pilot Vince Uncensored, which stars Michael Chiklis. The project, from veteran sitcom writer Phoef Sutton, Conan O’Brien’s Conaco and Warner Bros. TV, centers on a man (Chiklis) who, after a life-changing experience, decides to take a more honest approach to his life, work and family.

While best known for his TV starring roles, mainly his 20-year stint as Dr. Frasier Crane on NBC’s Cheers and Frasier, Grammer has also been active behind the camera, directing TV comedy series and pilots. He helmed 37 episodes of Frasier and has directed four pilots, one of which, Out of Practice, went to series. In 1999, he received a DGA nomination for directing the “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz” episode of Frasier. Grammer spent the last year on Broadway starring in the revival of La Cage aux Folles, which earned him a Tony nomination. He next stars and executive produces the Starz drama series Boss.

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‘Nip/Tuck’ Duo Join Starz’s ‘Boss’ As EPs

By | Friday February 4, 2011 @ 12:36pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Former Nip/Tuck executive producers Richard Levine and Lyn Greene have joined Starz’s upcoming series Boss as executive producers/co-showrunners. Boss, which received an 8-episode straight-to-series order in November, is a political drama starring Kelsey Grammer as the Mayor of Chicago who is diagnosed with a degenerative mental condition that only he and his doctor know about. It was created by Apocalypto co-writer Farhad Safinia, with Milk director Gus Van Sant on board to direct the pilot in what will be his TV debut. Also joining Boss is top feature casting director Francine Maisler (untitled Spider-Man reboot), who has worked with Van Sant on several films, including Milk.

Levine and Greene will be co-showrunning the Lionsgate TV-produced series with Safinia who is making his TV writing debut with Boss. Safinia, Levine, Greene, Van Sant and Grammer are executive producing with Grammer’s new Grammnet Prods. partner Brian Sher as well as Stella Stolper. Levine and Greene most recently created and ran ABC’s summer series Scoundrels, an adaptation of a New Zealand format. Maisler’s only series credits ate The Larry Sanders Show and the pilots for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Mr. Sunshine.

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Starz To Greenlight Drama Series Starring Kelsey Grammer & Helmed By Gus Van Sant

By | Thursday November 18, 2010 @ 6:34pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

After a heated bidding war, Boss, a political drama project starring Kelsey Grammer and written by Apocalypto co-writer Farhad Safinia, has landed at Starz with an 8-episode straight-to-series order. In his first foray into television, Milk director Gus Van Sant is set to direct the pilot and executive produce the series, which will be produced by Lionsgate Television. This also marks the cable debut of one of broadcast TV’s most recognizable stars, Grammer, as well as his first foray into drama series. It is also his first project since recently signing with WME. Boss will star Grammer as the Mayor of Chicago who is diagnosed with a degenerative mental condition that only he and his doctor know about. It is described as a King Lear-inspired tale of power set in Chicago’s political machine. Grammer will executive produce along with his new Grammnet Prods. partner Brian Sher as well as Van Sant and Stella Stolper.

Safinia and Grammer were introduced a year ago by Stolper and Sher. The two bonded over their love of William Shakespeare and specifically, King Lear. Grammer has strong theater ties. He started off on stage and made his Broadway debut in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. (He also starred in the Broadway revival of Othello.) Grammer and Safinia decided to partner on developing a contemporary series project that draws on the classic play while Grammer was working on Broadway in La Cage Aux Folles, a musical that earned him a Tony nomination. Safinia wrote the script on spec, with input from Grammer and his company. WME, which repped all parties involved, then passed the script to Van Sant. Boss was taken out in the marketplace two weeks ago, garnering strong interest from several cable networks. Starz won the bidding with its aggressive offer for an 8-episode series order. Boss falls under the pay cable network’s business model of ordering projects straight-to-series. It is the second such order for Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht after the 10-episode pickup of Camelot earlier this year. Read More »

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News From Broadway…

By | Wednesday November 10, 2010 @ 7:10am PST
Mike Fleming

Harvey Fierstein, who won the 1984 Tony Award for writing the book for the musical La Cage Aux Folles, is taking a lead in the show for the very first time. The Tony-winning revival’s leads, Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge, are exiting stage left on February 13. Fierstein will replace Hodge in the role of Albin, beginning February 15 at the Longacre Theatre. The producers are zeroing in on Grammer’s replacement. The songs are by Jerry Herman and the Terry Johnson won a 2010 Tony for directing, with Lynn Page the choreographer…up and coming actress Nina Arianda was named winner of the first Clive Barnes Awards, as was New York City Ballet dancer Chase Finlay. Arianda was honored for starring alongside Wes Bentley in Venus in Fur. Other finalists for that prize were Jon Michael Hill for Superior Donuts, Kendrick Jones for Scottsboro Boys, and Noah Robbins for Secrets of the Trade. Finalists for dance were: Aaron Carr of Keigwin + Company, Ghrai DeVote of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Hee Seo  and Leann Underwood from American Ballet Theatre.

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WME Signs Kelsey, Reba, Little Big Town

By | Thursday September 30, 2010 @ 5:14pm PDT

Kelsey Grammer, the 5-time Emmy winner and Tony nominee, is moving from CAA to WME where he’ll be repped by the same half-dozen agent team who handle Tyler Perry. Grammer has a very busy TV production business (Medium, Girlfriends, The Game which is restarting). WME also signed Reba McEntire from CAA. The major Nashville singing star had one of The WB’s most highly rated sitcom for years until it was yanked and moved to Lifetime. From Nashville, WME also signed Grammy-nominated Little Big Town whose current country album has been #1.

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‘Back To You’ Memorial Erected At Fox

UPDATED: Below are photos of an unscheduled upfront week event. Early this morning, because the sitcom Back to You had been cancelled, upset fans made a “memorial” in front of the gates at Fox studios. And the star of the sitcom Kelsey Grammar even posed for a picture beside it. (I just heard that Kelsey found out from my website Friday night that the show was cancelled!) I can confirm that “CBS has shown interest in Back To You.”) There were candles, balloons, floral bouquets, over 30 sympathy cards, neckties in honor of “Chuck”, and American flags. I was initially told that Fox security removed the memorial, but now fans are telling me it’s still there and even being expanded. But everyone connected to the show, especially showrunner Steve Levitan, knew about it and appreciated it.

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