HBO may have a long history of quality original programming, such as current critically acclaimed hits like Game of Thrones, Veep and Boardwalk Empire, but rival Showtime has been steadily gaining steam in the past decade or so. Series like Homeland and Nurse Jackie have developed devoted fanbases, while newer offerings Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex bode well for Showtime’s future (as discussed on the most recent Screen Rant Underground podcast).
In particular, the network’s House of Lies – which stars Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz and Josh Lawson as a group of management consultants – started strong in early 2012 and has continued to hold steady, no doubt thanks to its sharp ensemble cast. The comedy series begins season 3 on January 12, but before that epsidode premieres, Showtime has something special in store for fans.
House of Lies Live! will feature the series’ main cast (as well as comedians/season 3 guest stars Lauren Lapkus, Ryan Gaul and Eugene Cordero) performing improv-style in front of live studio audience. Filmed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles, the unscripted special will premiere online on SHO.com, YouTube, iTunes and various social media outlets on December 30 before airing on Showtime the next day at 10pm. It is the first original Showtime production to premiere online.
Below is a sneak peek at the special.
Considering the new-media approach that Showtime is taking with this special, it could be a clever way to increase awareness of the show and draw in viewers who otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to Cheadle’s award-winning portrayal of consultant Marty Kaan and his never-ending quest for power. Furthermore, the network’s decision to position an unscripted special as a precursor to season 3 is a particularly smart move, especially given that the low-key style of the special means that production costs were kept to a minimum.
Whether the special manages to have any positive effect on the House of Lies viewership, it does indicate that Showtime has high hopes for the series. After all, the network has offered the show swift renewals for its second and third seasons. It’ll be interesting to see if House of Lies receives similar treatment three years in a row, especially in the wake of this live special.
Are you looking forward to the House of Lies special, or would you prefer the show stick to basics? Sound off in the comments section below.
As mentioned above, the House of Lies Live! special will premiere online on December 30 and air on Showtime on December 31 at 10pm. The show’s season 3 premiere airs on Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 10pm.