The cable channel landscape is changing, yet again. MTV, which began as a channel for music videos, is now home to mostly non-scripted “reality” series. Now, the premium “movie” channels are evolving into a home for quality new, and often cutting edge, drama series.
Starz is the latest example. The channel is reportedly working on developing a new drama, Boss, that will star Frasier veteran, Kelsey Grammer, and will be directed by Milk director, Gus Van Sant.
According to Deadline Hollywood, Starz has ordered an initial eight episodes of Boss. The series is written by Apocalypto co-writer, Farhad Safinia, and produced by Lionsgate Television. It’s Grammer’s first foray as an actor in a drama series as well as his first run on cable. It should be interesting to see whether this dream team can create a quality run of shows.
The story is set in Chicago, where the mayor, Grammer’s character, discovers that he’s suffering from a degenerative mental condition. The idea is reminiscent of King Lear, but with a modern twist. It will play out in the political arena of Chicago and could be a great show – if done well.
Starz is attempting to position itself alongside HBO, Showtime, and AMC, as a place for top-notch series – but can they succeed? This new take on an old theme could help the network reach its goal, or it could hurt it if the show fails. It’s a risky undertaking to re-brand a network after many years.
Despite some well-received original programming such as Spartacus and Crash, Starz isn’t the go-to place for great original dramas, so they’ll have to catch the attention of potential viewers before they can reap the benefits (assuming Boss is even good). Not to mention, a weak series could damage their rebranding attempt.
Boss joins another new series, Camelot, already in production for Starz.
Source: Deadline Hollywood