This Week in TV:
Keanu Reeves is attached to star in and produce a developing action/drama series titled Rain; Showtime renews Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan for their third seasons; Halt and Catch Fire scores a season 2 renewal from AMC; and Simon Pegg announces that he and Nick Frost will reprise their Shaun of the Dead roles on the Disney Channel cartoon Phineas and Ferb.
Slingshot Global Media announced it is developing an action/drama series titled Rain - based on Barry Eisler's bestselling book series featuring the character John Rain - with Keanu Reeves attached to star and produce.
As the title character of Rain, Reeves will play a half-Japanese, half-American contract assassin who specializes in making his hits look like natural deaths. Here's a more detailed description of the character:
"An outsider in whatever world he’s in, Rain ironically finds that the one identity he knows – that of being a hitman – is the very thing that prevents him from bringing others closer into his life."
While Rain is still in the earliest stages of development, Slingshot - which will produce and distribute the series - expressed its confidence in the product and its lead actor, saying:
“We are extremely excited to be working on a beloved property with such a talented and hard-working actor as Keanu. This series will be the launch pad for the company and highlight our talent-focused, quality-based approach within the ever-changing and expanding television space.”
Known almost exclusively for his starring film roles, Reeves will be leading his first television series with Rain - that is, if the show makes it to series. Most developing shows are far from a lock to make it to air, but with Reeves' star power and strong source material behind it, it's safe to say Rain has a better chance than most.
We'll pass along the latest news on Rain as it comes in.
Source: Slingshot Global Media
Both shows are currently in the middle of their second seasons and performing well for the network, with Masters of Sex drawing in an average of four million viewers per episode and Ray Donovan averaging five million. The dramas have garnered their fair share of critical praise as well (read our Masters of Sex season 2, episode 6 review), but Masters has the edge over Ray Donovan in that department after snagging five Emmy nominations this year.
Of course, Showtime President David Nevins doesn't see the two shows competing as much as he sees them working in tandem to bolster the Showtime brand. Said Nevins:
“Both ‘Ray Donovan’ and ‘Masters of Sex’ are quintessentially Showtime: bold, provocative, premium television with production values at the top of the food chain. These acclaimed shows are filled with complex and interesting characters and settings that will no doubt give audiences compelling television to invest in for seasons to come.”
Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan will begin production on their respective third seasons in 2015. Both seasons will contain 12 episodes.
Catch Ray Donovan on Sundays @9pm and Masters of Sex on Sundays @10pm as the shows finish their second seasons on Showtime.
Showtime wasn't the only network handing out good news to producers this week, as AMC renewed its 1980s-set drama Halt and Catch Fire for season 2.
Unlike the two Showtime series mentioned above, Halt and Catch Fire's renewal was far from assured (its season 1 finale drew fewer than 600,000 viewers), but AMC ultimately decided the show's potential was worth another year of investment, especially when looking back at some of its other successes - such as Breaking Bad - that started slow.
Regarding the renewal, AMC President Charlie Collier said:
"This is a show about invention, experimentation, and the inherent risks in trying to break new ground – themes that really resonate with us as a network and attracted a passionate audience. We have a history of demonstrating patience through the early seasons of new shows, betting on talent and building audience over time. We see that opportunity here and look forward to a second season of 'Halt and Catch Fire' from creators Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, and showrunner Jonathan Lisco."
Look for Halt and Catch Fire season 2 in 2015.
Source: AMC, Deadline
Ten years after Shaun of the Dead first delighted horror aficionados and comedy fans alike in theaters, Simon Pegg announced that he and Shaun co-star Nick Frost will be reprising their roles from the famous zomcom on the Disney Channel cartoon Phineas and Ferb as part of the show's 2014 Halloween special.
While the duo and frequently collaborators obviously won't be appearing on screen themselves this time around, they will be lending their voices and likenesses to the popular cartoon, and Pegg couldn't have been more excited about the opportunity - at least, that's the vibe we got from this recent tweet announcing the news:
— Simon Pegg (@simonpegg) August 18, 2014
For those unfamiliar with the cartoon and its history of notable cameos and film homages, such a crossover may seem strange (perhaps even inappropriate), but after basing episodes around the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars (Pegg voiced C-3PO in an episode), and after including references to films such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Phineas and Ferb hosting the likes of Shaun and Ed for a while doesn't seem as off-base.
Look for the Phineas and Ferb Halloween episode this October on Disney Channel.
Source: Simon Pegg