Archive for Showtime

Showtime taps Call Girl

Now, here’s a way to make an end-run around a writer strike: Just buy a series that’s already been produced.

The downside, for Showtime, is that there’s already a Web site that lets you watch episodes of “Secret Diaries of a Call Girl.”

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Billie Piper as Belle, sort of a modern Moll Flanders if you will

For years, American producers have snatched up British ideas like “The Office” and “Coupling,” and Americanized them with varying degrees of success. Today, Showtime announced it has purchased the UK half-hour comedy and will air it as-is.

Taken from best selling, real life diaries, this series on the life of a high-end call girl leading a double life became an immediate ratings winner in the UK. Showtime airs the first season’s 8 half-hour episodes beginning in Spring or Summer 2008, with a commitment for an additional 12 episodes.

To her friends and family she is Hannah, a legal secretary clocking in regular hours and enjoying a “normal” life. To her clients, she is Belle, the answer to all of their fantasies. Her challenge is to keep her two lives separate. Inevitably they begin to blur.

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Belle assumes many identities for her clients, so now I’m thinking maybe she’s closer to a Sydney Bristow on “Alias.”

The real Belle, whom actress Billie Piper met and worked closely with pre-and during production, published her diaries in 2005 and, despite many attempts to discover her true identity, remains anonymous.

“When Chris Albrecht (formerly of HBO) called me to take a look at this show we were intrigued,” said Showtime’s Robert Greenblatt. “Initially we thought we should make an American version of it, but we fell in love with the original episodes, were captivated by Billie Piper’s Belle, and decided to bring it to Showtime as is. American audiences will be transfixed by the series poignant, sexy, comedy meets drama elements and the series’ will fit in perfectly with our line-up of original programming. It is also a pleasure to be back in business with my old friend Chris.”

And it doesn’t hurt they they don’t have to count on the writers coming back to work any time soon.

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From X-Files to Californicator

David Duchovny’s back on series TV after he departed from the wildly popular Fox series “The X-Files” in 2002.

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He’s now on a series trying to cope through drugs, alcohol and sex in the Showtime series “Californication.” He plays a writer whose best-seller has been turned into a crappy sitcom. Now he’s facing a writer’s block bigger than a Hollywood actor’s ego, dealing with his girlfriend’s new relationship with another guy and their 12-year-old daughter testing her sexuality.

But don’t expect David’s wife Tea Leoni to appear on the series.

“We’ve always tried not to work together, mostly because she doesn’t want to work with me, ” he joked. “But I honestly can’t imagine anything creepier than watching people who actually have sex having sex on TV. It’s a funky feeling to act with your wife anyway.”

In the series, David may become the first leading man in a TV series who has sex with a minor.

“Two things I have to do,” David says in response. “Update my resume and call my mother.”

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Me ‘N Mary-Kate

So after Mary-Kate Olsen left the stage in her impossibly high heels and high-hemmed, big belted blue dress, she hustled away alone _ with me right beside her.

“Mary-Kate, can I ask you a little bit more about your character on `Weeds’? I asked.

Just call me the invisible woman, because she acted as if she was all alone.

She rushed out the front door of the Beverly Hilton, trailing reporters behind her. Her publicist told me that Mary-Kate “Wasn’t taking follow-up questions,” while Mary-Kate herself looked at me with those big Margaret Keane-painting eyes.

Geeze, it wasn’t like I was looking for diet tips from her.

Her bodyguards blocked everyone off as she jumped into a limo to be whisked away.

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Mary-Kate Olsen Goes to Pot

Yep, it had to happen.

Mary-Kate Olsen has gone to pot.

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Actually, the tabloid-headline-grabbing, rehab half of the Olsen Twins, has joined the cast of Showtime’s “Weeds” about a surburban mom who deals marijuana in order to make ends meet after her husband dies unexpectedly. The series returns in August for a third season.

And no, she doesn’t look any thinner than any other Hollywood actress, including the cast of “High School Musical.” But she looks a lot less healthier.

“(My character) is a good Christian girl,” she says of her character, who is a love interest for Silas. “With a twist.”

It’s the first time Mary-Kate has appeared in a role without her twin sister Ashley.

“It doesn’t feel that weird,” Mary-Kate told critics during the Showtime press conference in Beverly Hills during the summer TV critics press tour. “I’m doing what I love. And I do go on auditions by myself.”

As for creator Jenji Kohan, she looked in mock surprise saying, “I didn’t know she had a sister.”

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Malfoy to mobster

Going from Lucius Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” flicks to the vicious mobster Michael Caffee in the new Showtime series Brotherhood wasn’t much of a stretch for actor Jason Isaacs.

He told critics gathered at the winter press tour in Pasadena that he isn’t often recognized on the streets of Providence, R.I., where the series is shot.

” (Only) if I walk around with a velvet cape and a walking cane and long blond hair, generally — and a
small blue elf,” teased Isaacs

” That owl you always had in your trailer didn’t help matters,” joked co-star Ethan Embry

” What happens is kids don’t recognize me, the parents recognize me. They go, ‘Look, it’s Lucius Malfoy,’ ” Isaacs said. “And the kids look at the parents like they’re insane because what would Lucius Malfoy be doing shopping in a Providence shopping mall?”

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Carnivale dead?

The HBO series “Carnivale” may be cancelled, but it’s not forgotten by its loyal fans.

Those fans want to know what another season would have looked like.

And so would “Carnivale” producer Scott Winant, who has moved on to Showtime’s “Huff.”

“If we could have gotten another season, the battle would have started between the good, (Ben Hawkins, played by Nick Stahl) and the evil (Sofie, played by Clea DuVall), says Winant. “I think we were going to have a great season. I still miss that series.”

As do we all.

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Spam Man

Hank Azaria arrived from New York to chat with critics gathered at the winter press tour about his Showtime series “Huff.”

He’s currently starring on Broadway in “Spamalot” as Sir Lancelot, which garnered Azaria a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.

But would he want to continue that role when the show opens in Las Vegas?

“When it goes to Vegas, it will be shortened and turned into more than a revue than a play, and that doesn’t interest me as much,” Azaria says.

So he wouldn’t consider it?

“I didn’t say that,” smiled Azaria. “A month in Vegas? And if they backed that money truck up to my door, it would be hard to say no.”

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