HBO’s Family Tree hasn’t started with very strong viewing roots. The 10:30 PM debut Sunday of the new comedy pulled in 794,000 viewers. That is a big drop off from the 1.2 million who watched its lead-in Veep and down from the 872,000 who tuned in for the debut of Girls in the same slot on April 15, 2012. Over two plays, Family Tree had about 975,000 viewers, down from the 1.1 million Girls had. Bridesmaids’ Chris O’Dowd stars in the mockumentary series co-created by Christopher Guest as a recently single and unemployed thirtysomething who seeks to discover himself by investigating his wacky extended family. The series is set to premiere on BBC2 in the UK this month. Also on HBO, Game Of Thrones’ four-week record viewership streak came to an end Sunday, with the flagship show drawing 4.8 million viewers for its 9 PM broadcast. It’s still a strong number but down from the 5.3 million who watched the 9 PM episode May 5. Over two plays for the night, Thrones had 6 million viewers, down from last week’s 6.8 million. Veep, meanwhile, was even with its Season 2 debut April 14. The Julia Louis-Dreyfus-starring political satire drew 1.5 million viewers over two plays Sunday.
HBO has renewed comedy series Veep for a 10-episode third season, which will air next year. The pickup comes on the heels of the Washington DC-set comedy hitting a season high in total viewers this past Sunday, drawing 1.3 million viewers, up from 1.1 million on April 21 and 1.2 million for the season debut April 14. Created by Armando Iannucci, Veep stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer, a role which earned her an Emmy last year.
Film and TV production in Maryland just got a big boost — a $17.5 million boost to be specific. Earlier this week, the state’s House of Delegates passed a bill increasing Maryland’s film tax credit program from its current $7.5 million for the fiscal year 2014 to $25 million. It now heads to Gov. Martin O’Malley to sign. The Democratic Governor was a big supporter of the bill and, according to a spokesperson from his office, “could sign the bill as early as Tuesday.” Intended to bring out-of-state production to Maryland, the bill also extends the state’s program for another two years until June 30, 2016; the current tax credit program was set to expire on July 1 this year. The legislation benefits productions that spend at least $500,000 in Maryland. In recent years, the state has been a destination for political-themed productions, with Netflix’s House Of Cards and HBO’s Veep shooting there. Game Change, the Emmy-winning HBO movie about the 2008 Presidential election, also filmed there.
Kevin Dunn has been tapped for a recurring role on HBO’s comedy Veep starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. He will play Ben, the President’s Chief of Staff. Pragmatic and no-nonsense, Ben finds himself unable to navigate the all-spin-all-the-time world of Washington politics. The casting brings Dunn back to HBO, where he co-starred on drama Luck. Dunn, repped by Gersh and Lighthouse Entertainment, will next be seen in Lionsgate’s The Frozen Ground, in the Steve Jobs biopic Jobs and Diego Luna’s Chavez.
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The win by Julia Louis-Dreyfus for lead actress in a comedy series sent Emmys historians scrambling to the record books to discover whether anyone had previously won trophies for regular roles in three different series — as Louis-Dreyfus now has for Seinfeld (supporting comedy actress, 1996), The New Adventures Of Old Christine (lead comedy actress, 2006) and this year for HBO’s Veep (lead comedy actress). There had been speculation that it had been done previously by Betty White for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls and — way back in 1952 — something called Life With Elizabeth. But the only problem is, neither IMDb nor the TV Academy have a record of White winning for Life With Elizabeth.
Deadline’s Pete Hammond and Awardsline’s Christy Grosz discuss Comedy Series Emmy nominations with ENTV YouTube channel host Brian Corsetti:
With Emmys under her belt as Elaine on Seinfeld and for The New Adventures of Old Christine, Julia Louis-Dreyfus could well make it triplets for her scathingly funny performance as Vice President of the United States Selina Meyer in HBO’s new comedy series Veep. Very few stars in the medium’s history have been able to pull off that hat trick but if anyone can, it’s Louis-Dreyfus who somehow manages to create completely original, but wildly different roles for herself each time she tackles a new series. As a producer of Veep she also knows exactly how to get what she wants and exerts control because, as she says herself, she’s been doing this a long time and knows a few things about comedy. Breaking into the television zeitgeist in 1982 on Saturday Night Live, Dreyfus remains one of the most talented and least predictable comic stars on television. And with Veep she is flying without a net for the first time as she is relieved of network constraints and restrictions.
AWARDSLINE: Republicans are obviously vetting for vice presidents for Mitt Romney and potential candidates keep saying ‘Oh not me! Not me! I don’t want it.’ But why did you want to play a vice president on TV?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus: For the same reason everybody is saying ‘No, no, no, I don’t want it.’ That’s exactly why I wanted to do it, because it’s a comedy! I mean it’s a really divine area for comedy. And it’s been untapped. It’s kind of just lovely to tee up all sorts of things coming together. Let me just start by saying this: Anybody who is an ambitious politician would never ever aspire to a Vice Presidency. And yet, people find themselves in that position, and so, therein lies the rub.
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview