This Week in TV:
Showtime sets a summer premiere date for Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex season 3; Fargo season 2 adds Evil Dead actor Bruce Campbell as Ronald Reagan; Billions earns a series order from Showtime; Black Sails season 3 casts Ray Stevenson (Thor) as the legendary pirate Blackbeard; and Netflix launches its streaming service in Australia.
Both dramas are coming off strong sophomore runs. Last year, Ray Donovan averaged 5.3 million weekly viewers and Masters of Sex raked in 3.4 million of its own per episode, as both shows were lauded with awards nominations and critical acclaim.
Ray Donovan's third season will find Ray (Liev Schreiber), Los Angeles's best professional "fixer", adrift from his family as he focuses on building his business, while his father Mickey (Jon Voight) attempts to establish his own empire. Recurring guest stars will include Ian McShane (Deadwood) as a wealthy movie producer and Katie Holmes as his daughter.
Meanwhile, the upcoming third season of Masters of Sex will find the duo of Masters (Michael Sheen) and Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) dealing with fame after the release of their sex study, as well as their own complicated relationship.
Tune in to Showtime for the season 3 premieres of Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex @9pm and 10pm, respectively.
In the season - which is set in the 1970s and is a prequel to Fargo's freshman run - Campbell will guest star in a single episode as a pre-POTUS Reagan during his first presidential campaign. FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said this about Reagan's role in the show's season:
“He’s on his first campaign [and he] makes a swing through Fargo. Some of the characters have some interactions with him. And some of his movies are also a part of the show.”
Known to horror film fans as Ash from the Evil Dead series, Campbell is most recently coming off his role as Sam Axe on Burn Notice. He will also be seen in the Starz Evil Dead spinoff series, Ash vs. Evil Dead, later this year.
We'll continue to pass along the latest on Fargo as the show nears its season 2 premiere on FX.
Source: TV Line
Billions, a financial drama starring Damian Lewis (Homeland) and Paul Giamatti (Sideways), received a series order from Showtime.
Impressed by the pilot, the network put in an initial order of 12 episodes of the series, which is described as a "complex contemporary drama about power politics in the New York world of high finance." Billions comes to Showtime from the team of Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Ocean’s Thirteen, Rounders), along with financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin - with Koppelman and Levien signed on as showrunners.
The show will center on a determined, politically-savvy U.S. Attorney named Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti), a brilliant hedge fund king named Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Lewis) and their impending collision with one another in the world of high finance. Alongside the two leads, the cast includes Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy), Malin Akerman (Trophy Wife), Toby Leonard Moore (John Wick), David Costabile (Breaking Bad) and Condola Rashad (Smash).
Considering the talent involved and Showtime's high percentage of series orders from drama pilots in recent years (the network has only passed on one since 2010), the pickup is far from a surprise. That said, the network has also established a strong track record for producing quality dramas during that time (Ray Donovan, Penny Dreadful, Homeland, Masters of Sex), so expectations for Billions will likely be high from pay-cable viewers.
Billions doesn't have a series premiere date yet, but the show will begin filming in NYC later this year, so we should expect to see it debut on Showtime in 2016.
Ray Stevenson (Thor, Punisher: War Zone) joined the cast of Black Sails season 3 as the infamous pirate Blackbeard.
At this point, we don't know much about Stevenson's version of the character, but Black Sails fans can expect him to be a major player when the series returns for season 3. Whether he will become a friend or foe to Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) remains to been seen, but based on the real Blackbeard's well-known history of high seas plundering, we can only guess that the two will find themselves at odds during the show's next batch of episodes.
Known for his roles as Volstagg in the Thor film series, Frank Castle in Punisher: War Zone and Titus Pullo in the BBC/HBO series Rome, Stevenson can currently be seen in on the big screen in Insurgent.
Look for Black Sails season 3 to premiere on Starz in 2016.
Netflix launched its streaming content platform in Australia and New Zealand and announcing pricing options for subscribers in the new territories.
The streaming giant made the announcement and the release slightly ahead of schedule, most likely because of a content library leak earlier in the week. As revealed in the leak, the library for Australia includes Netflix originals, such as Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards, along with some titles not available to stream in the U.S., like Homeland. However, the complete library for the new territories is significantly smaller than that of the U.S., as Netflix continues to secure release rights in Australia.
Here is the tiered monthly pricing structure for Australian subscribers:
- AU$8.99 for standard definition streaming to a single screen
- AU$11.99 for high definition streaming to two screens
- AU$14.99 for up to 4k quality across four screens
- One-month free trail for new subscribers
The announcement also included that season 3 of Orange Is the New Black will premiere on June 12 in Australia on New Zealand, the same day it will debut on Netflix in the U.S..