EXCLUSIVE: It could have easily gotten lost in the shuffle. Matthew Carnahan’s half-hour script House of Lies, set in the world of corporate management consulting, was put in development under previous Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt and was turned in just as the pay cable network was undergoing a regime change in the summer. But new Showtime programming chief David Nevins read it shortly after he started and got behind it right away, putting the project on the fact track and attaching Emmy winner Stephen Hopkins to direct it. Now I hear Nevins is eying it as his potential second pilot order following the pickup of drama Homeland starring Claire Danes. The green light is contingent on locking in the lead, which may not be far off. I hear Don Cheadle is in talks to star in the project, which is described as a sophisticated dark comedy about Marty, a thirtysomething top management consultant who is cutthroat and not afraid to play dirty. Dirt creator Carnahan is executive producing House of Lies with Jessika Borsiczky (FlashForward). Production on Homeland, which just cast Mandy Patinkin opposite Danes, starts on January 10 in Charlotte N.C.
With his big decision to leave Showtime behind him, the network’s entertainment president for the past 7 years Robert Greenblatt sounded relaxed in a phone interview today, hours after the network officially announced David Nevins as his successor. “I had been wrestling with [the issue] for the last couple of months until I came to the decision that it was the time to move on,” he said. And no, the decision was not prompted by a new job offer, supposedly from Comcast at post-merger NBC. “I don’t have any specific plans, I’m not in negotiations on anything, and I don’t have anything lined up,” he said.
Greenblatt acknowledged that he, too, has heard the rumors about him possibly going to NBC but stressed that they are just that — rumors. He maintains he has not talked to anyone at the broadcast network or its future parent Comcast about a job at post-merger NBC and that NBC has already put in place a large new primetime slate in an effort to turn its fortunes around. As for ABC, another broadcast network that has suffered a ratings downslide, prompting speculations about potential executive changes, Greenblatt said that he received a “generous” email from his long-time friend, ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson, who invited him to discuss opportunities there.
Greenblatt is not taking an extended time off, again supposedly a 5 to 6 month vacation as some have speculated. After signing off from Showtime at end of July, he …