Save for USA Network‘s decision last month not to extend Political Animals beyond its original run, it has been a great last few weeks for Greg Berlanti‘s political drama. He landed a WGA nomination for writing the pilot, star Sigourney Weaver got a SAG nomination, and today the show received two Golden Globe nominations — for best movie/miniseries and best actress in a movie/mini (Weaver).
It was introduced as a limited series and will stay that way. Greg Berlanti’s Political Animals won’t become a regular series for USA Network as originally envisioned. The mini was a modest performer, premiering to 3.8 million total viewers and averaging 3.2 million total viewers in Live+7 over its summer run. The ratings were not bad given that Political Animals aired with little support on Sunday — a night USA had not programmed for a while — but ultimately they weren’t strong enough to justify the show’s high cost. The political/family drama from Berlanti and Laurence Mark boasted a top-notch cast led by Sigourney Weaver, Carla Gugino, James Wolk and Ellen Burstyn.
“We are proud of Political Animals, our miniseries that attracted critical acclaim and impacted the cultural conversation this summer,” USA said in a statement. “It was a pleasure to work with Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark and a powerful cast led by Sigourney Weaver. We look forward to collaborating again with these immensely talented creatives.” Meanwhile, Berlanti is busy with breakout CW hit Arrow, midseason CBS drama Golden Boy and several projects he has in development for next season.
Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark’s USA series Political Animals has rounded out its cast with the addition of Adrian Pasdar as a recurring to appear in every episode. The six-episode series, from Warner Horizon, is slated to debut on July 15 and air in the Sunday 10 PM slot. Political Animals stars Sigourney Weaver as Elaine, a former First Lady and presidential candidate who tries to keep her family together while simultaneously dealing with crises of the State Department and a hungry DC journalist (Carla Gugino) who is bent on destroying her. Pasdar will play President Paul Garcetti, who defeated Elaine in the presidential primary and then appointed her as his Secretary of State.
In USA Network’s biggest production commitment to date, the top-rated basic cable network has given a straight-to-series six-episode order to Political Animals, a drama from Greg Berlanti and feature producer Laurence Mark. In his first cable project, Berlanti wrote Political Animals on spec — his first solo spec script since Everwood – in a midst of a busy first development season for his Berlanti Prods at Warner Bros TV, which has resulted in 4 broadcast pilot orders so far. The Washington DC-based series, from Warner Horizon, explores a fictional former first family that is on the verge of falling apart. It centers on Elaine Barrish, a divorced former First Lady and current Secretary of State who struggles to keep her family together while dealing with the crises of the State Department. She finds an unlikely ally in Susan Berg, a famous DC journalist who has spent her career tearing Elaine down. USA will air Political Animals at the height of the presidential campaign this summer. ”The timing couldn’t be more perfect,” USA co-president Chris McCumber said. “The soap opera of politics will be at top of mind for everyone.”
Berlanti’s series credits also include the WB drama Jack & Bobby, about two brothers in high school, one of whom becomes U.S. president in 2041, and the long-running ABC family drama Brothers & Sisters, which he ran for the first several seasons. “I’m a political junkie and I obviously love smart, rich family dramas — and a drama about a former First Family seemed to me to be the ultimate political family show,” Berlanti said. “Also the fact the family doesn’t currently reside in the White House gave us a lot of room for fun with the characters.” Like on Jack & Bobby, where the names and the story of the title characters evoked John and Robert Kennedy, “many of the characters in (Political Animals) are an amalgamation of former Presidents and their clans — and other famous political figures as well in the tradition of something like Primary Colors, I guess,” Berlanti said. He wouldn’t elaborate on its inspirations, but people who have read the script say that there are noticeable hints of both the Clintons and the second Bush presidential couple in the fictional first family on the show.