EXCLUSIVE: Having battled the United States as a Soviet sleeper spy on FX’s The Americans, Matthew Rhys has signed up for World War II in the independent feature Darling Buds of May. Directed by Christian Carion, whose 2005 World War I film Joyeux Noel was Oscar nominated for best foreign film, Buds follows Rhys as a stranded British army officer who teams up with a German fugitive to find his son in Nazi-occupied France. Rhys is repped by Management 360 and WME stateside and United Agents in the United Kingdom. He’ll be returning for the third season of The Americans which begins filming this fall.
The Americans’ Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields have inked overall production deals with FX Productions, the company announced today. The 2-year agreements between the Cold War-based drama’s creator/EP and showrunner will cover all projects developed for TV as well as their work on The Americans itself. “Working with Joe and Joel on The Americans has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Eric Schrier as he and fellow Presidents of Original Programming, FX Networks and FX Productions Nick Grad made the new deals public. “Joel and Joe are two of the most talented, genuine, gracious, and hardest-working guys in the business. We look forward to creating more great programs with each of them.”
The feeling is obviously mutual as former CIA employee and novelist Weisberg made clear. “I actually wanted to sign a 30-year deal, but the actuaries wouldn’t sign off on it,” said Weisberg. “I look forward to continuing our work together on The Americans and to developing some terrific new material with them as well,” added Fields of his work with Weisberg and FX. The critically acclaimed The Americans recently completed its second season and is coming back for a third cycle next year.
It’s the ads — or, rather, the same ads over and over — BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield says in a report, and documents in this video of his experience when he caught up with The Americans on FX’s FXNow site. “Some days we were shown the same two commercials during every single ad break (Audi and Burger King),” he says. “Other days we ended up with the exact same ad (Audi) running three times during every commercial break (and remember fast-forwarding was disabled).” The problem isn’t limited to FX. It ”affects virtually all broadcast and basic cable networks….Beyond a few shows where the ‘watercooler buzz’ is too great to wait, we suspect consumers will increasingly opt to delay viewing toward ad-free platforms that enable binging.”
As Phillip Jennings, the ‘married’ Soviet sleeper spy husband to Keri Russell’s Elizabeth on FX’s The Americans, Welsh thesp Matthew Rhys is called upon to flawlessly snake through a ringer of emotions. Beyond the demands of Phillip’s day job that’s full of disguises and a fake marriage, he’s been hitting his head against the wall in the show’s second season between his goody-two shoes daughter Paige who is swept up with a Born-again Christian group and his fellow comrade wife who isn’t as drunk on U.S. capitalism like Philip is. Prior to The Americans, Rhys was known to U.S. audiences as Kevin Walker, the gay lawyer on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters as well as Demetrius in Julie Taymor’s big screen Shakespeare adaptation Titus. At home in the U.K., Rhys made his mark with such stage productions as The Graduate, playing Benjamin to Kathleen Turner’s Mrs. Robinson, and in the BBC crime action drama series Backup. Click through to read the interview:
Christy Grosz is a contributor to Awardsline.
Playing a Cold War-era Russian spy undercover in the United States on FX’s The Americans offers Keri Russell plenty of opportunities for hand-to-hand combat. But Russell says she doesn’t focus much on the spy stuff in building her character, Elizabeth Jennings. She’s more interested in the show’s complicated relationships, particularly the marriage between Elizabeth and Phillip, played by Matthew Rhys. Russell, perhaps best known for her starring role on the WB’s Felicity in the late ’90s, next will star in Fox’s July release Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Here, she discusses those wacky ’80s wigs and why she turned down the role of Elizabeth three times.
AWARDSLINE: What made you want to come back to series TV?
KERI RUSSELL: As an actor, you’re at the mercy of what’s around, what comes your way, and I definitely have been taking some time out raising my family. Although I wasn’t looking for a TV job at all, this had a really great pilot. It sounded fresh. My image (after) reading (Elizabeth) the first time was Brigitte Nielsen in Rocky. I was like, “OK, she’s this kick-ass Russian—cold, beautiful, sexy. How did this make its way to me?” So I obviously said no about three times, and then (FX president) John Landgraf just sold me on it. He basically said, “No, that’s the whole point. We want someone who’s instantly relatable, and kind, and all those things that people project onto you.” And I’m so glad I said yes. It’s always a gamble—every job you take—but this one has been really interesting these last couple of seasons.
“Since (creator) Joe Weisberg isn’t here tonight, I can say that this show is actually based on his personal story,” quipped executive producer Joel Fields about the historical basis for their FX show The Americans which follows two KGB spies posing as American parents in the 1980s (Weisberg is a former CIA officer). Fields, in addition to cast members Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich and Annet Mahendru were in attendance at Awardsline’s Monday night screening of The Americans season two finale “Echo”, moderated by Deadline’s Dominic Patten.
The show, which earned two Emmy noms last year (for main title music and guest star Margo Martindale), is on a hot streak in the pre-Emmy nom phase. The Television Critics Association recognized The Americans for best drama and achievement in drama (Rhys) noms, while the Critics Choice Television Awards lauded it with a slew of above-the-line noms including drama, actor-drama (Rhys), actress-drama (Keri Russell) and supporting actress (Mahendru).
FX Networks CEO John Landgraf teased the pending renewal at the company’s upfront presentation last week. The network now has ordered a 13-episode third season halfway through Season 2. “The Americans continues to be one of the best shows on television,” said FX Networks President of Original Programming Eric Schrier. With tonight’s broadcast, there are six episodes remaining in the current season. Set in 1981 just after Ronald Reagan is elected president, The Americans — starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich — chronicles the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. The series, from Fox TV Studios and FX Prods., was created by and is executive produced by Joe Weisberg, a former CIA agent. Joel Fields, Graham Yost and Dan Sackheim are also executive producers, along with Amblin Television’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank.
FX & FXX To Double Their Original Output, ‘Simpsons’ To Debut On FXX With A Bang, ‘The Americans’ Nears Season 3 Renewal
FX Networks had been ramping up development, with some dozen pilots ordered in the past year. It is part of a major original expansion. At an upfront press event in New York, CEO John Landgraf said the company will go up from 11 originals to 20 across FX and FXX during the next year. FX Networks’ $750 million acquisition, The Simpsons, will make its debut on FXX in August with 12-day marathon. “It will be the longest continuous marathon in the history of television,” Landgraf said.
On the renewal front, a formal third-season renewal of The Americans is expected soon, he said. “We look forward to it being on our schedule for quite some time,” he said, later adding that he was “confident in the [show's] long-term prospect.” While the series’ live numbers may have dipped, it has been a DVR growth story. The Americans‘ DVR numbers are “unlike anything I have ever seen,” Landgraf said. “Live viewing is essentially just 20% of whole.”
Landgraf and his team will wait for the seasons of Legit and Chozen to end before making a decision on their future but that would be coming soon. Landgraf also touted the new season of Louie as being “amazing” and upcoming limited series Fargo as being “so good I can’t close the door” on another installment. “If it comes back, it will once again be located in North Dakota or Minnesota but telling a different story with different characters.” However, “the bar is high, it has to be an extraordinarily good story.”
Season 2 of FX‘s series The Americans will premiere on Wednesday, February 26 at 10 PM, the cable network said today. Let’s see how those premiere numbers compare with the period spy drama’s series premiere, which drew 5.1 million viewers overall and stands as FX’s most-watched drama debut to date — topping the starts of fellow network series like Sons Of Anarchy and American Horror Story. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as two sleeper KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban D.C. in the early 1980s. Noah Emmerich, Holly Taylor, Keidrich Sellati, Annet Mahendru, Alison Wright and Susan Misner co-star in the series, produced by Fox Television Studios and FX Prods. The network renewed the series in February with a 13-episode order.
The Americans creator/executive Joe Weisberg and executive producer Joel Fields told a PaleyFest: Made in NY crowd tonight that their show’s second season will expand from exploring the marriage of two spies to focus more on their family. FX’s Cold War-era drama, created by former CIA agent Weisberg, stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Soviet intelligence agents posing as an average American couple with two kids. The panel included the two EPs, Russell, Rhys and Noah Emmerich, who portrays the couple’s neighbor, nosy FBI agent Stan Beeman.
Although the kids are kept in the dark about their parents’ occupation, the first-season finale included the couple’s 13-year-old daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) snooping into forbidden territory. Following the panel, which was moderated by New York magazine TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz, one audience member probed for details about whether Season 2 would spotlight the spy kids. Answered Fields: “I think we can say as much as, last season was the exploration of a marriage [and the news season] would draw a big concentric circle” around that marital unit to include Paige and her 10-year-old brother Henry (Keidrich Sellati). “That moment with Paige is a hint to some of the direction we will go.”
The Paley Center for Media, which has held its annual TV festival in Los Angeles for decades, today announced it’s going to throw one in New York too — but only New York-produced programs need apply. The first PaleyFest: Made In NY is set for October 2-6 at the Paley Center in Manhattan and is being thrown in partnership with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment. Confirmed panel events include the casts and creators of Orange Is The New Black, Elementary, The Americans, Small Empires With Alexis Ohanian, The Outs, and Boardwalk Empire. None of those programs were on the series featured in this year’s PaleyFest in Beverly Hills, which ran March 1-15. “New York City has truly become a TV town in recent years with more primetime episodic series filming on our streets than ever before,” Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, said in today’s announcement. “Working with the Paley Center to celebrate the Made In NY series that call New York City home is the perfect way to kick off a season of new dramas and comedies and highlight the thousands of New Yorkers who make their living working in the local film and television industry.”
Michael Ausiello is Editor-in-Chief of TVLine.
At a glance, this list of probable contenders for the drama Emmy will look a lot like last year’s. AMC’s Mad Men and Breaking Bad are back. So are PBS’ Downton Abbey, HBO’s Game Of Thrones and, of course, 2012’s winner, Showtime’s Homeland. But also included among the frontrunners this year—as if the broadcast networks didn’t have a hard enough time getting any noms!—is Netflix’s first entry, House Of Cards. How will the wildcard fare against the cablers? While you ponder that question, here’s our assessment of its chances, as well as those of 23 other series and their stars:
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
Since FX’s 1980s-set spy yarn is still in its freshman season—and still suffering from comparisons to Showtime’s Homeland—its best bets for nominations are its standout leads, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. But, since neither TV vet has been recognized before by the Emmys, even they are, if not long shots, pretty far-off medium shots.
Though A&E’s attempt to out-AMC with its moody Psycho prequel has scored big in the ratings, it isn’t the series but rather Oscar-nominated star Vera Farmiga who stands the best chance of receiving a nod.
HBO’s Prohibition-era shoot-’em-up had a superlative season. But, since this category is more crowded than a Game Of Thrones cast party—and the show has never generated as much heat as its gangsters have packed—it’s unlikely to eke out a third consecutive nomination. On the other hand, Bobby Cannavale—so good as the year’s Big Bad, Gyp Rosetti—is all but assured a TK nod.
Related: EMMYS: Movie/Miniseries Overview
FX’s The Americans leads with four nominations for the 2013 TCA Awards and AMC’s Breaking Bad follows with three. NBC’s Parks And Recreation and Fox’s New Girl nabbed two noms each. The awards will be presented on August 3 at the Beverly Hilton. FX leads the network field with seven total noms. Click over for the complete list:
Annet Mahendru plays Russian spy Nina and Alison Wright portrays FBI secretary Martha on FX‘s series The Americans, which has been renewed for Season 2 and is expected to begin production in the fall. Susan Misner, who plays Sandra Beeman, also has been promoted to regular. Mahendru’s TV credits include 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly and Big Time Rush, and she’s been in the features Escape from Tomorrow and Love Gloria. This is UK native Wright’s first TV role, while her film credits include The Nanny Diaries. FX’s Cold War spy drama starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys was renewed for a second season in February after just four episodes and just wrapped its freshman run. Former CIA agent and Falling Skies scribe Joe Weisberg created the series and exec produces with Joel Fields, Graham Yost and Amblin TV’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank for Fox TV Studios and FX Prods.
The fantastic FX show The Americans just wrapped its first season finale, and some of the cast and executive producers sat down on April 26 for a panel discussion at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The entire hour is on this video and contains spoilers. Panelists are Joe Weisberg (executive producer/creator), Joel Fields (executive producer), Matthew Rhys (who plays Russian spy Philip Jennings), Noah Emmerich (who plays FBI agent Stan Beeman), Margo Martindale (Claudia) and Annet Mahendru (Nina):
EXCLUSIVE: Noah Emmerich, whose work as a conflicted FBI agent has been a highlight of the FX Cold War series The Americans, has been set to play the final major lead role in Jane Got A Gun, the Gavin O’Connor-directed Western that stars Natalie Portman, Bradley Cooper and Joel Edgerton. Emmerich will play the outlaw husband of the title character (Portman) who is trying to keep her farm from going under. Knowing that his gang–led by a desperado played by Cooper–will come to kill her husband and destroy her farm, Jane hires her ex-lover (Edgerton) to stop them.
After that rough start when director Lynne Ramsay dropped out of the film the night before it went into production, Jane Got A Gun is several weeks into production. This will be the fifth film that Emmerich has made with O’Connor, after Tumbleweeds, Miracle, Pride And Glory, and Warrior (latter of which starred Edgerton). Emmerich also worked with O’Connor on The Americans; O’Connor directed the pilot for that freshman drama series, which stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. Emmerich also starred with Portman in the Ted Demme-directed Beautiful Girls, which proved to a breakout for both actors. Of course, Emmerich played a married guy and Portman played a kid in that film, but hey, she’s grown up and there will be a different dynamic in Jane Got A Gun.
Scripted by Brian Duffield, Jane Got A Gun is being …
FX says it is posting last night’s episode of The Americans on its website because of an error by its publicity department. “The correct listings information was not properly disseminated to television listings services that provide information to media outlets, cable and satellite providers. As a result of the error, electronic guides which trigger the run times of DVRs incorrectly recorded the total running time of one hour (10-11 PM), therefore cutting off the final seven minutes of the episode”, FX said in a statement. John Solberg, SVP of Media Relations, FX Networks, apologized to the show’s fans, calling the error “regrettable”.