This Week in TV:
Outlander renewed; Ballers season 2 trailer; UnReal renewed; HBO orders Barry; Homeland nears renewal; Showtime orders Purity; Wong Kar-Wai to direct online series; G.L.O.W. revival; Transparent renewed; and novelist Kirsten Beyer joins CBS’ Star Trek revival.
Starz has officially ordered two more seasons of their hit drama Outlander, the television adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling book series. The series has only grown in popularity, with the second season premiere more than doubling in viewership over the first season. That same premiere set a record for Starz as the most-watched original series premiere on the network. Starz CEO Chris Albrecht released the following statement regarding the renewal:
“Outlander is like nothing seen before on television. From its depiction of a truly powerful female lead character, to the devastating decimation of the Highlander way of life, to what is a rarely seen genuine and timeless love story, it is a show that not only transports the viewer, but inspires the passion and admiration of its fans. On this 25th anniversary of the publication of the first book in the U.S., we are thrilled and honored to be able to continue the story that began with author Diana Gabaldon, and is brought to life by the incredibly talented Ronald D. Moore. There are no better storytellers for Outlander than this team, both in front and behind the camera.
The third season of the series is set to begin airing in April 2017, adapting Voyager, the third book in the series. The fourth season was confirmed to be adapting Drums of Autumn, the fourth book in the series. Considering the success of the show, it’s not inconceivable that the series could adapt the eight currently published novels, as well as the ninth novel Gabaldon is currently writing, before drawing to a close.
Outlander airs Saturdays at 10:00 p.m. EST on Starz
Ballers Season 2 trailer
Ahead of its July 17th premiere, HBO has released another new trailer for the second season of Ballers. The series stars Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas) as Spencer Strasmore, a retired NFL player looking to reinvent himself as a financial manager in Miami. The ending of the first season saw Strasmore opening his own financial firm with his partner Joe Krutel (Rob Corddry). Season 2 will see the pair come up against Andre (Andy Garcia), a seedy money manager who won’t tolerate losing his clients to the newcomers.
The 10-episode second season will be produced by Johnson, alongside Entourage producers Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson. The first season proved to be a success for the network, ranking as the most highly watched half-hour series on HBO in the last six years.
Ballers season 2 premieres on July 17th, 2016.
Source: Dwayne Johnson
Ahead of its season two premiere, Lifetime has already renewed their hit series UnReal for a third season. The drama follows Rachel (Shiri Appleby) and Quinn (Constance Zimmer), two ruthless producers working on Everlasting, a fictional, Bachelor-inspired reality show. Season 2 will include a new season of Everlasting, with B.J. Britt (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) set to play this year’s eligible bachelor, Darius Hill.
Liz Gateley, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming for Lifetime, released the following statement regarding the renewal:
“UnReal is that rare series that redefines a network. It not only reflects culture, but pushes culture forward by creating television’s first female antihero. The overwhelming fan and critical reaction set the bar incredibly high, but the writers and executive producing team, coupled with the outstanding performances by Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer, have taken the second season to even greater creative heights. We are thrilled about the new ground we will break with season three while continuing to work with the incredible A+E Studios as we work together [to] build Lifetime’s Fempire.”
UnReal season 2 premieres on June 6th, 2016.
HBO Orders Barry
HBO has given a series order to Barry, the half-hour comedy pilot from Saturday Night Live veteran Bill Hader. The series centers on an ex-marine (Hader) who works as a hitman in the Midwest. Lonely and dissatisfied with his current life, he takes on a job that sees him traveling to Los Angeles. It’s there that he finds new purpose and acceptance among a group of young actors in the LA theater scene.
Henry Winkler (Arrested Development) and Stephen Root (King of the Hill) will co-star in the series. Winkler plays an inspiring theater teacher while Root will play a lawyer who arranges assassinations. The series is co-written, directed, and produced by Bill Hader as a part of his overall exclusive development deal with the network. Barry will also mark Hader’s directorial debut. Alec Berg (Silicon Valley) is co-writing the series and will serve as an executive producer.
Homeland nears Renewal
Showtime is reportedly closing in on a deal with Fox 21 TV Studios to secure Homeland for a seventh and eighth season. The series is already set to return for a sixth season, but the premiere date has been pushed back to January 2017. Should the deal be finalized, series star Claire Danes and showrunner Alex Gansa will return for both additional seasons.
Season six will see Carrie Mathison (Danes) return to the U.S., several months after thwarting a major terrorist attack in Berlin. Living in Brooklyn, Mathison works for a foundation that provides aid to Muslims living in the United States. The entire season will take place in an election year, specifically in the time period between election day and the inauguration. As the power transfers from the outgoing president to the incoming president, new anxieties build around this fragile time in Capitol Hill.
With its sixth season delayed, Homeland will be replaced by a new season of Shameless this fall. Homeland returns in January 2017.
Showtime Orders Purity
Showtime has officially ordered Purity, a 20-episode drama miniseries starring Daniel Craig (Spectre). Based on the Jonathan Franzen novel of the same name, the series centers on Pip, a young American woman with heavy student loan debt and a mysterious past. Raised by a single mother, Pip has no idea who her father might be or what her life was like in her early years. Craig will play Andreas Wolf, the charismatic leader of “The Sunshine Project,” a fictional competitor to WikiLeaks. Wolf trades in secrets, making him the ideal source for Pip to learn more about her past and eventually find her father.
Showtime Networks president and CEO David Nevins released the following statement:
“Jonathan Franzen’s Purity is an epic American novel that pulses with the energy of a psychological thriller. I whipped through it in a week. His gripping and timely story has attracted a powerhouse team – Todd Field, Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, David Hare, along with Franzen himself, and the brilliant Daniel Craig who is perfectly cast as the charismatic, mysterious Andreas Wolf.”
Purity will be produced by Todd Field (Carnivale) and Scott Rudin (The Newsroom), with Field set to direct all twenty hours of the miniseries. Field is also co-writing the scripts for the series with original author Franzen and David Hare (The Hours). Purity will begin production in 2017 and will air in two installments over the course of two years.
Wong Kar-Wai to direct online series
Hong Kong Director Wong Kar-Wai has signed a deal with Huanxi Media Group to co-direct and produce a new original drama series. Kar-Wai is renowned worldwide for his award-winning drama In the Mood for Love as well as his stylish action films such as The Grandmaster. The project will mark a departure for the director, as the entire drama series will be distributed digitally by Huanxi both in China and worldwide.
There is currently no title or plot information for the series, but it will run for 18-episodes over two seasons. The first season will consist of 12 episodes with a 6-episode second season to follow at a later date. Production on the first season is slated to begin in 2017, with Kar-Wai’s budget reportedly being over $3 million per episode.
Netflix orders G.L.O.W. revival
Netflix has given a ten-episode order to G.L.O.W., a scripted comedy series from Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New Black). G.L.O.W., which stands for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, is based on the professional wrestling promotion of the same name and the unscripted television show the promotion inspired in 1986. The original series cast twelve women, mainly actresses and models, as professional wrestlers and trained them for six weeks before launching the show. During each episode, approximately eight matches occurred and the original series ran for 104 episodes.
The Netflix revival of G.L.O.W. will be a scripted comedy series, created by Liv Flahive (Homeland) and Carly Mensch (Orange is the New Black). The series follows “an out-of-work actress who finds one last attempt to live her dreams in the form of a weekly series about female wrestlers.” Flahive and Mensch will serve as showrunners of the series, with Kohan on board as an executive producer.
Months ahead of its third season release, Amazon has officially renewed Transparent for a fourth season. The fourth season will premiere sometime in 2017, with series stars Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development), Judith Light (Dallas), Gaby Hoffmann (Girls), Amy Landecker (Louie), and Jay Duplass (The Mindy Project) all set to return. Series creator Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under) will remain on board as the showrunner with Andrea Sperling (This is Me) continuing to serve as executive producer. Soloway released the following statement regarding the renewal:
“Amazon’s explosive freedom and revolutionary thinking has given birth to this show. It’s so much more than TV to us, it’s our version of the most ambitious streaming art we can conjure. We’re having the time of our lives sharing season 2 for the awards season hoopla, and editing and finishing up season three for a fall release… This news of an order for season 4 is so so sweet. The Pfeffermans have many more stories to tell and we can’t wait to keep making them.”
Transparent season 3 premieres sometime this fall.
Kirsten Beyer joins CBS’ Star Trek Revival
Slated for 2017, the upcoming CBS All Access Star Trek revival already has a number of talented writers and producers on board. Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) is spearheading the project as showrunner, working with producer Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) and writer Joe Menosky (Star Trek: The Next Generation). Now, yet another Star Trek veteran has joined the writing staff of the upcoming revival: novelist Kirsten Beyer.
Beyer has written eight full-length novels based on the Star Trek: Voyager crew, taking over for Christie Golden in 2009. The series is considered to be a “relaunch” of Voyager, continuing the story beyond the show’s final season. Trek fans have praised Beyer’s knowledge of the lore, as well as her knack for tying together obscure events in continuity in a satisfying way. This marks the author’s first foray into television, but her knowledge and experience could prove invaluable to the upcoming series.
Star Trek debuts on CBS in January 2017 before moving to the digital platform CBS All Access.