This Week in TV:
Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston team for a series based on the 1993 novel The Night Manager; HBO unveils trailers for The Newsroom season 3 and the miniseries Olive Kitteridge; Starz announces a season 2 premiere date for Black Sails; and TNT cancels Dallas after season 3.
Hugh Laurie (House) and Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers) are set to star in a series based on John le Carre's 1993 novel The Night Manager.
With two big stars already attached, multiple networks are bidding on the espionage drama, which is also being developed in partnership with the BBC for broadcast in the U.K. David Farr (Hanna) has been hired to adapt le Carre's novel for TV.
The novel follows Jonathan Pine, a British soldier who becomes a hotel night auditor. The story involves Pine receiving incriminating documents from an Arab woman tied to an English black marketer, which become critical in an investigation and sting operation with intelligence operatives after the woman is found dead. We're not sure how closely the series will stay to the original narrative, but it's clear there is plenty of drama to wring out of the source material.
At this point, we're also not sure as to who will play which part, but both Laurie and Hiddleston should have meaty roles worthy of their respective talent. Already a TV star in his own right, Laurie is perhaps best known to U.S. audiences for playing the titular character on FOX's House, while Hiddleston will be taking on his biggest TV role after being previously known most for his portrayal of the Marvel villain Loki in the Thor films and The Avengers.
We'll pass along more updates on the untitled Night Manager series as they come in.
Starz has announced that season 2 of Black Sails will premiere on January 24, 2015.
The Michael Bay-produced pirate drama follows Captain James Flint (Toby Stephens) and the crew of the Walrus - including a young John Silver (Luke Arnold) - as they hunt for the Spanish treasure aboard the lost Urca de Lima ship 20 years before the events of Robert Louis Stephenson's classic novel Treasure Island. The show's sophomore season will contain 10 episodes (two more than season 1), and add English actor Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks) to the cast in a recurring role.
Tune in for more of high seas adventures when Black Sails returns to Starz on January 24, 2015 @9pm.
HBO has unveiled a trailer for The Newsroom season 3, which you can get a peek at below.
The acclaimed drama will sadly come to an end this season, but not before tackling some more serious current issues with dramatic flair. In the trailer, we see questions of journalistic ethics come into play as the newsroom covers the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013; lead anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels in an Emmy-winning role) wrestle with the dangers of instantaneous and possibly unverified social media reports; and the team face tough editorial decisions when presented with classified information. Sounds like another day at the office for the members of the ACN newsroom.
The final six episodes of The Newsroom will kick off November 9, 2014 on HBO.
Source: HBO's YouTube channel
HBO also released a trailer for its two-night miniseries Olive Kitteridge, based on the Elizabeth Strout novel of the same name. Check it out below.
The novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2009, takes the form of 13 short stories set in Maine that are presented out of narrative order. The network's adaptation will likely draw from several of those stories, as the four-part series follows its salty titular character (played by Frances McDormand) and her dealings with depression and a dysfunctional family over a 25-year span.
The supporting cast includes superb character actor Richard Jenkins (The Cabin in the Woods) and the enigmatically lovable Bill Murray, both of whom lend this HBO drama some added appeal. Also giving the miniseries some weight is director Lisa Chodolenko (The Kids Are All Right), who has shown the ability to paint complicated and flawed characters in a sympathetic, but uncompromising light.
Olive Kitteridge premieres its first two installments on November 2, concluding with two more on November 3 on HBO.
Source: HBO's YouTube channel
In a somewhat surprising move, TNT has canceled Dallas after just three seasons.
The relaunch of the wildly successful 1980s primetime soap opera had established a strong - albeit older - viewership for the network during its first two seasons back on the air, but ratings took a dip after the sudden passing of star Larry Hagman. Still, numbers remained stable enough heading into the show's shocking season 3 finale, averaging more than 2 million viewers per episode.
While it's unclear as to exactly why the network axed the popular drama, some feel it could be part of an effort by TNT to move in a younger, edgier direction with its programming (see: TNT's plans for a Teen Titans TV show).
A network spokesperson said this in an official statement:
“We are extremely proud of the series, which defied expectations by standing as a worthy continuation of the Ewing saga. We want to thank everyone involved with the show, from the extraordinary cast to the impeccable production team, led by the show’s creative forces, Cynthia Cidre and Mike Robin. We especially want to thank the people of Dallas for their warm and generous hospitality during the production of the series.”