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Showtime Buys Law Firm Comedy From ‘Spy’ Creator, Jason Winer & Peter Chernin

By | Tuesday May 20, 2014 @ 1:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

winerShowtime has put in development Control Alt Delete, a half-hour comedy series from Fox 21, Chernin Entertainment and Jason Winer’s 20th Century Fox TV-based Small Dog Picture Co. Written by Simeon Goulden, creator of the UK comedy series Spy, and to be directed by Winer, Control Alt Delete revolves around four smartass, workaholic associates in a “white shoe” law firm who are feverishly trying to move up the corporate ladder while avoiding becoming the next victim of the office serial killer. Goulden will executive showtime_logo__121211185844__130120002910__130730210613__131210182749produce alongside Chernin’s Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope and Small Dog Pictures’ Winer and Renate Radford. Goulden, repped by UTA and Curtis Brown Group, adapted his 2011 Sky comedy series Spy for ABC, where it went to pilot during the 2012-13 season with Rob Corddry starring. Winer, repped by ICM Partners and Mosaic, most recently directed and executive produced the CBS/20th TV comedy series The Crazy Ones.

Related: Showtime Developing Drama About Business Of Doping Pro Athletes

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Courtney B. Vance & Rene Auberjonois Set For Season 2 Of ‘Masters Of Sex’

By | Monday May 19, 2014 @ 8:57pm PDT

Rene AuberjonoisCourtney B. VanceShowtime‘s period drama continues to add to its sophomore-season cast. Courtney B. Vance and Rene Auberjonois have joined Masters Of Sex in guest roles. Vance (FlashForward, Law & Order: Criminal Intent) will recur as Dr. Hendricks, head of an African-American hospital in St. Louis whose goal is to racially integrate his hospital, and Auberjonois (Warehouse 13, Boston Legal) will play Dr. Papanikolaou, inventor of the Pap smear. Season 2 of the series starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan premieres July 13 after the season premiere of Ray Donovan.

Related: Sarah Silverman Joins Showtime’s ‘Masters Of Sex’

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Showtime Developing Drama About Business Of Doping Pro Athletes

By | Friday May 16, 2014 @ 1:18pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

costiganhollanderEXCLUSIVE: Showtime has put in development Dope, an hourlong drama about the business of performance-enhancing drugs for athletes and the doctor who popularized it in South Florida. The project is timely in light of the Alex Rodriguez scandal, but it is fictional and not based on recent events. David Hollander (Ray Donovan) is writing the script and will produce with Michael Costigan (Prometheus). showtime4Serving as consultants are two journalists who have covered that Major League Baseball doping scandal extensively: Tim Elfrink, managing editor of the Miami New Times, who broke the story about the link between big names in MLB, including Rodriguez, to an anti-aging clinic in Miami, and Gus Garcia-Roberts of New York Newsday, who uncovered a report about MLB’s alleged involvement in the acquisition of stolen documents as part of its investigation into the Florida clinic. Elfrink and Garcia-Roberts are repped by Gersh; Hollander is with CAA.

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Showtime Buys Comedy About An Aspiring Jewish Stand-up From Elisa Zuritsky, Julie Rottenberg, Richard Shepard & Olé

By | Wednesday May 14, 2014 @ 2:08pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Julie Rottenberg & Elisa ZuritskyEXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Showtime has bought for development Yank, a half-hour comedy written by Sex And The City alums Elisa Zuritsky and Julie Rottenberg and to be directed by Ugly Betty Emmy winner Richard Shepard. Yank, from Fox 21, is centered on a young man who ventures out of his sheltereshepardd, ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to pursue his passion of becoming a stand-up comedian. He embarks on a double life in the foreign world that is only steps from his home — New York City — and earnestly attempts to live simultaneously in the diametrically opposed worlds. “We’ve always been fascinated by the question of how our families’ expectations have and haven’t shaped our lives,” Rottenberg said. “We realized that this is the most extreme version of a family sending a very clear signal of exactly who you’re supposed to be. But what happens if you have your own plans?” Read More »

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Showtime’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ Debuts OK, ‘Game Of Thrones’ Down, ‘Veep’ Hits High

By | Monday May 12, 2014 @ 3:27pm PDT

penny dreadfulIt was a night of bloody Victorian beginnings, some tribulations in Westeros and D.C. season highs on cable Sunday. The beginning was the premiere of Showtime’s new 19th century horror series Penny Dreadful. Created by Oscar-nominated scribe John Logan and exec produced by Skyfall director Sam Mendes, the 10 PM series debut drew just 872,000. That’s a far drop from the 1.35 million Ray Donovan got when it debuted on June 30 last year in the same time slot. With a stronger lead-in of Dexter as compared to Californication last night, the debut of the Hollywood fixer series last summer was the best original series premiere in Showtime’s history. Over the multiple plays last night, Penny Dreadful had a total of 1.443 million viewers. Of note is that 895,000 of those viewers, or 62%, were in the adults 18-49 demo – the best such result for a Showtime drama since Dexter launched in 2006 with 65% demo in its total viewership. Over all its plays, last night’s grouping of Victorian icons was also a slight 5% gain on what Homeland and Masters Of Sex had in their 2011 and 2013 fall debuts. Also of note is that Penny Dreadful’s premiere episode has been available online for the past two weeks and attracted 900,000 Showtime subscribers. Read More »

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CBS Q1 Revenues Miss Expectations With Fewer NCAA Basketball Games And No Super Bowl

By | Thursday May 8, 2014 @ 1:09pm PDT

CBSCorp_logoShares are down about 1.5% in initial post-market trading after the company reported mixed results for the first three months of the year. Net income at $468M was up 1.1% vs the period last year on revenues of $3.86B, -4.6%. The top line fell short of the $3.92B that analysts expected. But earnings at 78 cents a share topped forecasts for 75 cents. CBS says that last year’s results included $280M from its Super Bowl broadcast, and benefited from two additional NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship games. Their absence cut 11 percentage points from revenues at the main Entertainment unit, where revenues fell 9.3% to $2.3B with operating income -4.6% to $420M. Overseas sales helped to boost content licensing and distribution revenues 6%.

Related: Moonves: CBS Could Go Directly To Consumers If Court Sides With Aereo

Cable networks, which include Showtime, more than held their own helped by licensing deals for original series and higher rates. Revenues here increased 12.3% to $537M with operating income +11.9% to $254M. But bestselling book titles Rush Revere And The First Patriots and The Women Of Duck Commander weren’t enough to lift revenues at the Simon & Schuster publishing unit. Sales fell 10.5% to $153M with operating income up $1M to $11M. Read More »

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Spike Lee To Adapt His Feature ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ As Series For Showtime

By | Monday May 5, 2014 @ 5:26pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

She's_Gotta_Have_It_film_posterEXCLUSIVE: Spike Lee is revisiting his debut feature, 1985′s She’s Gotta Have It, on the small screen. Showtime has put in development a half-hour series adaptation that updates the film, with Lee set to write and attached to direct. The project is taking a new, contemporary look at the characters and will spike leeexplore Lee’s unique and provocative points of view about race, gender, sexuality, relationships, and the gentrification in Brooklyn. Showtime is a fitting home for the project as the pay cable network has built a whole slate of half-hour series that straddle comedy and drama in the tone of She’s Gotta Have It.

Lee made his breakthrough with She’s Gotta Have It, which he shot in 12 days during the summer of ’85 on a budget of $175,000 (watch the trailer below). The film, starring Tracy Camilla Johns as  a young, sexually independent Brooklynite who juggles three suitors (Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell, Lee), ended up grossing $7,137,502 at the U.S. box office. It helped usher in the American independent film movement of the 1980s and paved the way for other black filmmakers. Lee is repped by ICM Partners.

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Showtime Drama To Chronicle Origins Of Crack Cocaine Epidemic In Los Angeles

By | Tuesday April 29, 2014 @ 9:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

singletonJohn Singleton is returning to the setting of his debut feature Boyz N The Hood – 1984 Los Angeles — with Snowfall, a drama series project set up at Showtime. Singleton is set to direct and co-write the project, co-written by Eric Amadio. The two executive produce with Michael London and Underground’s Trevor Engelson and Evan Silverberg. Told through the eyes of a young black kid from Compton, a Mexican wrestler and a CIA agent charged with running money to the Contras, Snowfall will examine the beginnings of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles. Allegedly fueled by CIA involvement stemming from the Iran-Contra affair, the drug started flowing to the U.S. in 1984, with Los Angeles as the first city to get hit hard. The project is described as being in the vein of Boyz In The Hood, which earned Los Angeles native Singleton writing and directing Oscar nominations, meets The Wire. Amadio, also originally from LA, previously developed an NFL drama at Starz. Singleton is with WME and attorney Stephen D. Barnes, Amadio with CAA and attorney Greg Slewitt. Both are managed by Underground.

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Sarah Silverman Joins Showtime’s ‘Masters Of Sex’

By | Monday April 28, 2014 @ 12:24pm PDT

sarahsilverman2Sarah Silverman has landed a recurring role in the second season of Showtime‘s Masters Of Sex. Silverman will recur in the guest-starring role of Helen. No word about the character’s function in the show, but we’re guessing she has something to do with sex. Production on Season 2 is currently underway in Los Angeles and will premiere Sunday, July 13. Silverman received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy Series for The Sarah Silverman Program, and was also nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for Monk. But these days she’s maybe best known for the Emmy she won — for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics as one of the writers of that hummable tune “I’m F*cking Matt Damon” for ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!

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Eion Bailey To Recur On ‘Ray Donovan’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 10:30am PDT

Eion Bailey (Fight Club, Almost Famous)eionbailey has booked a recurring role on Showtime‘s Ray Donovan. Bailey, repped by Paradigm and Industry Entertainment, will play a charismatic motivational speaker/self-help guru who needs Ray’s help. Ray Donovan stars Liev Schreiber as LA’s best professional fixer, the man called in to make the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls’ most complicated and combustible situations go away. Bailey most recently recurred on ABC’s Once Upon A Time. His other TV credits include Band Of Brothers miniseries, Dirty Little Secrets, Covert Affairs, Law & Order: SVU and ER. The 12-episode second season of the Mark Gordon-produced Ray Donovan is set to premiere Sunday, July 13.

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Showtime Greenlights Documentary On NBA Star Kobe Bryant

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 10:07am PDT

kobebryantmuseKobe Bryant’s Muse takes an in-depth look into the life, inspirations and challenges facing one of the most successful and complex figures in professional sports, according to Showtime. Gotham Chopra (Decoding Deepak, ESPN’s upcoming 30 For 30 film, The Little Master) directs the feature-length docu set to debut in the fall. “Kobe Bryant’s Muse will offer viewers a deep character portrait of a professional athlete who has transcended his sport to become a culture-moving personality,” said Stephen Espinoza, EVP and General Manager, Showtime Sports. “We are thrilled that Kobe has given us this unprecedented access, which will allow our viewers to witness such a challenging period of time in the life of one of the NBA’s greatest players.”

The docu will follow the Los Angeles Lakers legend’s career, detailing his mentorships, allies and rivalries that have helped shape his 18-year tenure in the NBA. A 16-time All-Star and winner of five NBA championships, Bryant dominated professional basketball until a series of recent injuries threatened to derail his career. He is scheduled to return to the NBA next season. Kobe Bryant’s Muse is executive produced by Kobe Bryant and Gotham Chopra in association with Mamba Media.

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Showtime’s ‘Shameless’ & ‘House of Lies’ Log Record Finales

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 10:44am PDT

shameless-season-4In the face of stiff competition, Showtime‘s Shameless and House Of Lies wrapped their fourth and third seasons, respectively, with best-yet wrap-up stats. Shameless’s surprise finale — in which, during closing credits (SPOILER ALERT) Jack pulls up to the Gallagher household, looking for all the world like a resurrected Jimmy/Steve — delivered its biggest telecast of the season and highest-rated finale ever with 1.93 million viewers at 9 PM and 2.83 million viewers for the night, outperforming the Season 3 finale by 18% (2.39 million) and its Season 4 premiere by 23% (2.3 million). House Of Lies, meanwhile, ended its third season with 731,000 viewers at 10 PM and 1.4 million viewers for the night — the show’s  best finale night ever,  outperforming its Season 2 finale and Season 34 premiere by 16%; both had delivered 1.2 million viewers. It too was fraught with drama including (SPOILER ALERT) busy Marty Kaan about to be indicted and having admitted love to Jeannie, who comes off looking pretty bad. Read More »

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‘Homeland’ Season 4 To Film In South Africa, Will Be Set In Middle East

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 9:23am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

homelandAfter three seasons in Charlotte, NC, Showtime drama Homeland is leaving the US to film its fourth season in Cape Town, South Africa. The end of Season 3 found Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) taking a job as a station chief in Istanbul. Showtime wouldn’t specify where exactly Mathison would work as the new season is still being mapped out, only saying that she is being “assigned to one of the most volatile and dangerous CIA stations in the Middle East where she is back on the front lines in the war on terror.” At TCA in January, Showtime president David Nevins already shed light on the setup for Season 4 with Mathison in the field overseas. “Homeland is a show that is deeply about a field operative (Carrie), and we haven’t seen her much in the field,” he said. “In Season 4 you will likely see her on the ground in a foreign capital doing her job,” adding that co-star Mandy Patinkin will continue to be “central and important” to the show. Read More »

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Omar J. Dorsey Joins Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’; Carole Weyers In WGN’s ‘Manhattan’

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 12:45pm PDT

Omar J. Dorsey (Django Unchained)omardorsey2 has landed a recurring role on Showtime‘s Ray Donovan. Dorsey will play Cookie Brown, a powerful music business entrepreneur recently released from prison. Ray Donovan stars Liev Schreiber as LA’s best professional fixer, the man called in to make the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls’ most complicated and combustible situations go away. Dorsey’s other TV credits include Fox’s Rake and HBO’s Eastbound & Down.

Caroleweyers1Newcomer Carole Weyers is set for a multi-episode arc on WGN America‘s 13-episode scripted series Manhattan, from writer Sam Shaw and director Thomas Schlamme, Skydance TV, Tribune Studios and Lionsgate TV. Set during the clandestine mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, NM, Manhattan follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families. Weyers, repped by D2 Management and Element Talent Agency, will play Elodie, a French switchboard operator at Los Alamos.

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‘Shameless’ Scores Series Best Stats On Sunday

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 11:57am PDT

shameless-season-4Despite stiff competition across broadcast and cable, Showtime‘s Shameless copped its biggest episode premiere crowd ever on Sunday — 2.8 million viewers, surpassing previous high, aka Episode 6 of this season. It was a pretty eventful episode — SPOILER ALERT — what with Fiona going  back to prison, Frank waking up in the hospital, and Mickey coming out. To date, the fourth season of Shameless is averaging 5.7 million weekly viewers, up 8% compared to last season, and is on track to finish the season as its highest rated ever.

Meanwhile, the pay cabler’s House Of Lies, that same night, logged its best night so far this season, 1.44 million viewers. Season to date, House Of Lies is averaging 3 million weekly viewers, which is on par with last season.

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Showtime’s ‘Nurse Jackie’ Renewed For Seventh Season, Showrunner Clyde Phillips Inks New Overall Deal With Lionsgate TV

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 9:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

nursejackieAhead of Nurse Jackie‘s sixth-season premiere, Showtime has given the dark comedy starring Edie Falco an early seventh-season renewal. Clyde Phillips will continue as executive producer/showrunner after closing a new two-year overall deal with Lionsgate TV, which co-produces Nurse Jackie with Showtime. Phillips clydephillipsjoined Nurse Jackie after Season 4. The series’ fifth season, the first with him at the helm, averaged 3.13 million weekly viewers across platforms, up 14% from Season 4. Under the overall deal, former Dexter showrunner Phillips also will develop new projects. “We are delighted to continue our longstanding relationship with Clyde Phillips, a creative powerhouse who has reinvigorated the Nurse Jackie series and who is also a prolific developer of television series in the auteur television arena,” said Lionsgate TV Group chairman Kevin Beggs. “His expertise in comedy and drama makes him a rare showrunner/creator and we are lucky to have him in the Lionsgate family.”

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Showtime Picks Up Morgan Spurlock Documentary Series On Seven Deadly Sins

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 9:58am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Morgan SpurlockShowtime will air Seven Deadly Sins, a new documentary from Super Size Me writer-director Morgan Spurlock. Hosted by Spurlock, the series will explore each of the seven deadly sins — one per episode — taking an in-depth look at the weird and darkly comic world of sin. The project had been in development and production at Showtime, which is showtime_logo__121211185844__130120002910__130730210613__131210182749now announcing the series, along with a June 19 premiere date. Seven Deadly Sins comes from Warrior Poets, Spurlock’s production banner with partner Jeremy Chilnick. “For years, I’ve wanted to do an Alfred Hitchcock Presents-style show comprised completely of non-fiction stories,” said Spurlock. “A series just as dark and twisted as anything fiction could imagine, and now I’m thrilled to have that dream come true with Seven Deadly Sins. With Showtime as a partner, we’re going to make this as depraved as any scripted program as we dive head first into Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy & Pride. You won’t believe it until you see it … and even then, you may not believe it.”

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EMMYS: Showtime’s ‘Shameless’ To Compete As Comedy

By | Tuesday March 25, 2014 @ 11:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ShamelessShowtime‘s Shameless is switching Emmy categories. The hourlong dramedy, which competed as a drama for the past three seasons, will be submitted as a comedy this time after a request by executive producer and showrunner John Wells was granted by the TV Academy. Dramedies always have straddled the drama and comedy worlds, never quite fitting into either. Traditionally, they have been more successful when competing as a comedy, including a best comedy series win for Fox’s Ally McBeal and comedy acting Emmys for Ally McBeal and ABC’s Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty. Netflix’s hourlong comedic drama Orange Is The New Black also will compete as a comedy series at the Emmys after being submitted as a drama (and largely shut out) at the Golden Globes. In the past three years, Shameless, based on the UK drama series, has earned three Emmy nominations for guest star in a drama series, Joan Cusack.

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Showtime Docu Follows Current Musicians Recording Album Of Recently Discovered Bob Dylan Lyrics

By | Tuesday March 25, 2014 @ 10:43am PDT

Bob_Dylan_and_The_Band_-_The_Basement_TapesLost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued follows five current artists as they put music to words penned by the rock legend during the Summer of Love. Showtime‘s documentary puts Oscar winner T Bone Burnett together with Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) and Rhiannon Giddens showtime_logo__121211185844__130120002910__130730210613__131210182749(Carolina Chocolate Drops) to record an album of the songs a 26-year-old Bob Dylan originally wrote in 1967 for the record that became The Basement Tapes. Sam Jones (I Am Trying To Break Your Heart) directs docu, which offers a deep look inside the creative process of recording the album, weaving the studio sessions together with stories about The Basement Tapes, Dylan’s landmark collaboration with The Band that was released in 1975. Burnett played guitar on the Rolling Thunder Revue tour that followed the album. Showtime will air Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued later this year, timed to the release of the album. Jones, Burnett and Carol Cohen are producing the film.

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