This Week in TV:
FOX is planning to shop The Simpsons for cable syndication; Showtime’s Penny Dreadful has cast Josh Hartnett and Eva Green as its leads; CW has renewed Whose Line is it Anyway? for season 2; Philip Seymour Hoffman has been cast in a Showtime comedy pilot titled Trending Down; and Danny Trejo (Machete) has landed a series regular role on the George Lopez sitcom Saint George.
After 24 years on the air, The Simpsons is finally aiming for cable syndication.
The Simpsons is already the longest-running animated series of all time, but it hasn’t drawn in nearly the same viewership numbers as it did in its heyday when it first was sold in broadcast syndication in 1993. To keep the show alive, FOX is now planning to shop The Simpsons for cable syndication, which would air simultaneously with its broadcast syndication and new episodes on FOX.
Cable networks said to be interested are TBS, FX and Adult Swim, while the sale is projected to go for up to $1 billion for the more than 530 total episodes. The show could be a perfect fit for FX, which is still trying to find programming for its soon-to-be-launched sister network FXX.
It’s hard to imagine The Simpsons not finding a buyer for cable syndication, so we could be seeing many more (old and new) episodes featuring our favorite yellow family in the near future.
Showtime’s upcoming psychological thriller/horror series Penny Dreadful has cast Josh Hartnett and Eva Green as its leads.
Initially, we heard the series would revolve around an elite team of monster hunters as they try to track down some of literature’s most iconic horror characters in 19th century London, but Hartnett’s character description fits neither a horror nor a hunter role. Hartnett will instead play “a charming American who finds himself trapped in the darkest corners of Victorian London,” while Green is set to play Vanessa Ives, who is simply described as “a seductive beauty full of secrets and danger.”
Since the show has already been ordered for an eight-episode first season, it’s entirely possible that Hartnett’s character could evolve and become a famous monster hunter down the line, while Green certainly could turn out to be one of the monsters – maybe even a seductive vampire.
There’s certainly a lot to be uncovered about Penny Dreadful, but with its leads in place, Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible) set to direct the first two episodes and Sam Mendes (Skyfall) signed on as a producer, it looks like Showtime has things moving in a positive direction.
Penny Dreadful will begin shooting in London this fall and will premiere on Showtime sometime in 2014.
CW’s latest incarnation of the improvisational comedy show Whose Line is it Anyway? has been renewed for season 2.
After the first American adaptation aired for nearly 10 seasons on ABC (1998-2006), many were unsure of how much appeal the show would still have on a new network – especially when a preview clip released in June revealed that much of the cast and the structure would be the same. But apparently CW was correct in its assumption that audiences were still hungry for improvisationl comedy, as the show premiered to 2.9 million viewers last month, making it the network’s most watched show in its time slot (Tuesday @8pm) in nearly five years.
Those results made the renewal decision quite easy for the network. Said CW President Mark Pedowitz:
“It’s clear that viewers are as excited to have ‘Whose Line’ back on the air as we are. We have wanted to bring comedy back to The CW for a long time, and Aisha (Tyler), Wayne (Brady), Colin (Mochrie) and Ryan (Stiles) have brought funny to the network in a big way. We’re very excited to have them back for another season.”
The premiere date for Whose Line is it Anyway? season 2 hasn’t been set yet, but it will consist of 24 all-new half-hour episodes.
Source: The CW (via Coming Soon)
Philip Seymour Hoffman is set to star in a new Showtime comedy pilot titled Trending Down.
Hoffman – who will also produce along side Kathryn Hahn (Parks and Recreation) – will play Thom Payne, who is described as “a man facing his own obsolescence after his advertising agency is taken over.” The network is describing the pilot itself as “a blistering attack on our youth-obsessed culture, and a darkly comic examination of what it means to matter. Or matter not.”
Considering the Oscar-winner is known almost exclusively for his film acting, Hoffman joining the cast of a new pilot is certainly a surprise. However, Hoffman working in comedy is slightly less so, as he’s turned in funny, scene-stealing performances in films such as The Big Lebowski and Almost Famous. With Hoffman’s talent, we’re pretty confident he can do almost anything. Apparently, Showtime feels the same way.
We’ll pass along more information about Trending Down as it comes in.
Trejo will play George’s uncle on the family sitcom, which centers on George and his struggle to balance work and home life. Trejo’s character Tio is said to always be in competition with his nephew and repeatedly stops in to drink George’s beer. He is a part-time construction worker who always speaks the truth and holds a mirror up to George.
It sounds like Trejo will serve as a classic comedic foil to our main character, which is something we’ve seen him do before in films such as A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas. And his tough-guy persona – which he’s displayed in virtually everything he’s done – will probably work well against George’s insecure and conflicted man-of-the-house type.
Like Charlie Sheen’s FX series Anger Management, Saint George has earned the 10/90 deal from the network, meaning that if the show hits its desired numbers in its 10-episode first season, it will automatically be picked up for 90 more episodes. However, if it comes up short, it could be canceled after just one season.
We don’t have a premiere date for Saint George yet, but we’ll be interested to see if it’s a legitimate hit and if it gets 100 episodes.