This Week in TV:
AMC renews Hell on Wheels for season 4; Netflix announces a December premiere date for Lilyhammer season 2; the creators of Homeland and Heroes team for a miniseries at USA titled Dig; Christina Ricci lands the titular role in the Lifetime Original Movie Lizzie Borden Took an Ax; and FX begins development on a limited series centered on the life of the infamous Russian healer, Rasputin.
While it hasn't been AMC's most popular or successful series in recent years, Hell on Wheels posted solid enough viewership numbers this year to earn a season 4 renewal.
Set to premiere next summer, the show's fourth season will be expanded from 10 to 13 hour-long episodes. The reason for the larger commitment could be to help fill the impending void left by Breaking Bad, but it could be that the network is simply becoming more confident in the show. While its viewership totals were less than impressive during its first two seasons, the show and the network saw a noticeable improvement after AMC moved the post-Civil War Western to Saturday nights for season 3.
Said AMC President, Charlie Collier:
“AMC has served passionate Western fans for three decades, so it is particularly gratifying to see these viewers capping off their Saturdays with an original Western on what has historically been a tough night of the week for television. Our commitment to the genre is unwavering and we look forward to continuing to super-serve this audience with an expanded fourth season of 'Hell on Wheels.'”
Season 4 of Hell on Wheels is set to premiere in the summer of 2014.
After premiering its eight-episode first season in early 2012 exclusively on Netflix, hit mob series Lilyhammer has finally landed a December 13, 2013 premiere date on the streaming service for season 2. Check out the trailer for the new season below.
The all-new eight-episode season will throw even more problems Frank Tagliano's (Steven Van Zandt) way as he continues to live under federal protection as club-owner Johnny Henriksen in Lillehammer, Norway. As one might guess after viewing the trailer, the new season will see Tagliano tangle with plenty of his former New York mob associates, after they eventually find out where he's been hiding.
Even after its first season was met with positive reviews and fairly strong viewership numbers, the show seemed to go into hiding itself, however, the gap between seasons was not due to Netflix's indecision to renew the show, but rather the limited availability of its star, Van Zandt. Van Zandt - who is best known as the lead guitarist for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band - spent much of 2012 on his band's Wrecking Ball World Tour, delaying production on the show's second season until early 2013. The good news is we'll know if the wait for season 2 was really worth it soon enough.
Check out Lilyhammer season 2 when it premieres on Netflix on December 13, 2013.
The six-episode "event series" will center on a Jersusalem-based FBI agent, who, while investigating a murder, uncovers a millennia-old conspiracy that "could change the course of history."
Further details on the new show are scarce, but with the talent it has already secured behind the camera, excitement is building.
Said NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment head, Jeff Wachtel:
"We've been looking for a project that makes a statement. This team of storytellers has put together a smart, sophisticated and compelling show that will hit the market with a big bang and a lasting impression."
Dig is set to begin filming on location in Jerusalem soon. We'll pass along a premiere date when one is announced.
Golden Globe and Emmy nominated actress Christina Ricci is headed back to the small screen as the titular character in the Lifetime Original Movie Lizzie Borden Took an Ax.
Based on a real double-murder case from the late 19th century, Lizzie Borden Took an Ax tells the story of a young woman who was accused of and tried for brutally murdering her parents with an ax. The salacious case and the well-publicized investigation helped Lizzie Borden become one of the most infamous figures of the time. Here's the official plot synopsis for Lifetime's version of her story:
On a scorching, hot summer day in 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts, Lizzie Borden (Ricci) returns home to the house she shares with her father Andrew, stepmother Abby and sister Emma. But, unlike any normal day, Lizzie encounters the bloody scene of her parents violently murdered. Police quickly question multiple suspects in town, but evidence keeps pointing back to the Borden’s youngest daughter Lizzie, the seemingly wholesome Sunday school teacher, as the prime suspect. Lizzie’s lawyer, Andrew Jennings, proclaims her innocence arguing that it is inconceivable a woman could commit the heinous crime of brutally murdering her family with an ax. Or is it? Lizzie is put on trial for the murders, both in the courtroom and in the press, sparking a widespread debate about her culpability. As the case rages on, the courtroom proceedings fuel an enormous amount of sensationalized stories and headlines in newspapers throughout the country, forever leaving Lizzie Borden’s name in infamy.
While it is a Lifetime movie, we can see why Ricci would be attracted to such a juicy part and with a name like Ricci's attached to star, the network may be able to corral viewers who normally wouldn't stop their surfing remotes on Lifetime. It's strange to say, but this is one Lifetime Original Movie that may be worth spending a couple hours with.
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax premieres January 25, 2014 @8PM ET/PT on Lifetime.
Source: A+E Networks
Recently, FX announced it is currently developing a limited series based on the life and death of enigmatic Russian advisor/mystic faith healer Rasputin.
This latest incarnation of the Rasputin story comes from director/executive producer Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) and writer Paul Scheuring, the latter of whom is best known for creating FOX's Prison Break. Scheuring is adapting the story from Douglas Smith's book Rasputin: Dark Forces And The Fall of The Romanovs, with Smith's help as a consultant.
The series intends to serve as an in-depth examination of the mysterious, but very influential figure, but also sets out to answer the question "Who was he really beyond the folklore, a true healer or the greatest charlatan the world has known?”
For those who aren't familiar with the historical figure, here are the Cliffs Notes: In the early 1900s, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (believed by many to have possessed healing powers) was brought in by the Russian Imperial family to cure the Tsar's son of his hemophilia, but went on to become an influential advisor to the Romanov dynasty and was ultimately blamed for its eventual fall from power. Adding further to his mystique, Rasputin was said to have survived several assassination attempts, but finally met his demise in 1916, when he was drowned in the Neva River.
As you might expect, FX isn't the only industry power interested in the Rasputin story. Earlier this year, we learned that Warner Bros. acquired a pitch for a Rasputin biopic with the hope of attaching Leonardo DiCaprio to star. We haven't heard anything about that project for a while, but the last update we had indicated the script was being shaped with DiCaprio in mind and that the acclaimed actor was interested in the “psychological depth” of the character.
We'll be sure to pass along future updates on everything Rasputin related as they come in.