The eight-part series is is produced by Kudos Film & Television ('MI-5,' 'Life on Mars') for BBC One and HBO/Cinemax in association with Big Light Productions. It will shoot in Scotland, London and Morocco, and is slated to air on Cinemax in 2012.
Spotnitz will executive-produce along with Alison Jackson, Jane Featherstone and Stephen Garrett from Kudos Film & Television and Christopher Aird from the BBC. Eliza Mellor ('Albert Schweitzer,' 'Derek') produces, and SJ Clarkson ('Heroes,' 'Life On Mars') will direct the first two episodes.
Think of it as a British take on '24,' and although it won't make you forget Jack Bauer, it is a thoroughly enjoyable action hero romp from a global perspective. The series has also been a moderate hit for Cinemax, and it was recently renewed for a second 10-part season.
There are, however, inherent risks and drawbacks as well to this particular partner arrangement. With Scott rushing in before fully understanding the situation or environment he's heading into, he's more likely to get caught and incapacitated. Or, as in this week's episode, tied up with a bomb strapped to his chest.
Now, negligees, rose petals, nudity, massages and copious amounts of foam have all become staples of the reality TV romance-setting playbook. Last night 'Housewife' Ramona pulled out all the stops to set the mood for her possibly philandering husband Mario.
Talking about the couple's "sexy time" Cohen asked Mary McDonald ('Million Dollar Decorators') if she thought Mario was hot. Echoing, no doubt, many viewers' sentiments, McDonald said, "I was grossed out. ... I don't really need to see this."
Fellow guest Rocco DiSpirito concurred that 'Housewives' belonged on Cinemax, not Bravo, adding that, "It [was] like the soft-porn channel all of a sudden."
McPhee was cast over the weekend in NBC's upcoming musical pilot, 'Smash,' Deadline reports. The network's answer to 'Glee,' based on an idea by Steven Spielberg, follows the production of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe. McPhee will sing in the show.
Also on board: British actor Jack Davenport, who will play the show's choreographer, according to Deadline. Debra Messing is already on board as the musical's lyricist.
In other TV news ...
• IFC renewed 'Portlandia' for a second season. The sketch comedy show stars 'Saturday Night Live' cast member Fred Armisen and indie rocker Carrie Brownstein. The 10 half-hour episodes will premiere in January 2012. [IFC]
• Barbra Streisand apologized for her 'Glee' dis. When asked if she'd appear on the show, singer/actress told reporters, "Not if I can help it." She clarified later, saying, "What I meant was that I've been overwhelmed preparing for my performance on MusiCares, the Grammys, recording a new album and starting a new movie. So I couldn't take on any more work, and besides that, I wasn't asked." [TMZ]
• 'Home Game' has scored its lead: Rob Riggle. The former 'Daily Show' correspondent will star as a former NFL player in the CBS comedy pilot. [THR]
For those of you who do not live in your mother's basement, 'Femme Fatales' features genre pictorials of scantily-clad models and B-movie actresses. Like a woman in a silver bikini and holding a laser gun? Now you're getting the picture.
"It's a different show than we've ever done before," says Bob Conti, senior VP of creative affairs at Cinemax. "We have an opportunity to tell some sexy and thrilling stories that all have powerful women."
Max Headroom, who always reminded me of a young Christopher Titus immortalized in claymation, hosted several talk shows for the BBC and got his own taste of the late night dynasty on Cinemax with 'The Original Max Talking Headroom Show,' a cyberpunkish gab fest hosted by actor Matt Frewer as the digital stutterer.
Here's a hilarious sit down with William Shatner that's hilarious for two reasons: (1) the brilliant, improvised jabs they take with and at each other are themselves hilarious and (2) they are both such animated characters that it's actually hard to tell the two apart.
Too young to remember Matt Frewer's babbling blonde digital hipster? Allow me to play professor: In the mid-'80s, Frewer (you know, that guy) played a strange, spastic (and sarcastic) computer-animated Coca Cola pitchman and music video host that lived inside of your TV. He frightened young children and hypnotized susceptible nerds into guzzling Coke by the gallon.
Perhaps as a meta-comment on his own existence, his creators produced an insane cyberpunk TV movie starring Max that satirized TV marketing, the media, politics, and everything else worth satirizing.
So what's this mean to us as viewers? I'm having a hard time wrapping myself around this one. Sure, they mention some new-ish movies they will premiere, like The Bourne Ultimatum, Shrek the Third and The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. But to me, Cinemax is synonymous with B movies from a decade or so ago, one of those channels that you get for free in your cable TV movie package bbut never watch.
I know what you are thinking... your burning question that you are too embarrassed to ask...
Is a series-ending black-out even more vibrantly black in high-definition? Well, subscribers of HBO and Cinemax will find out next year when the entire multiplex of pay-cable channels goes hi-def.
According to Bill Nelson, chairman and CEO of the networks, the conversion to HD for all 26 HBO and Cinemax channels will begin later this year and be completed by the 2nd quarter of 2008.
After securing all the Star Wars films on DVD, the first thing I did was to start with The Phantom Menace and watch all of the films in story order. Of course, I had to make due with Lucas' egregious digitally "improved" versions of the original trilogy. Sure, now you can get the original theatrical versions on DVD, but back then they weren't available. Why not just attach a vacuum hose to my wallet, George?
Sorry, I'm getting off the subject, which is that in November, Cinemax will be airing all six Star Wars movies both in release order and in story order. Now you can see how how Anakin turned from a young lad on Tatooine who wasn't a very good actor into the Dark Lord of the Sith with James Earl Jones' vocal cords. You'll also see Leia help smuggle both the Death Star plans and two cinnamon buns strapped to the side of her head, thwarting the Emperor's diabolical plan to win the Intergalactic Bake Off and Craft Fair. Cinemax on Demand will also be offering all six movies starting November 2nd, plus video extras, including a deleted scene in which a group of confused Ewoks take turns pooping into R2-D2.
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