LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The cable portion of the TCA's summer press tour began on Wednesday in which the networks outlined their plans for the 2004-05 season and beyond.
Here's the breakdown of the highlights of the HBO/Cinemax presentation (via press release):
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM - A fifth season of 10 episodes is set to head before the cameras in January for a premiere later in 2005.
DEADWOOD - HBO topper Chris Albrecht told reporters the show's creator, David Milch, hopes to keep the series on track to return every 12 months (or every March). "It's what he is used to doing. He gets up in the morning to start writing. And we're happy to fulfill his need," he said. "['Deadwood' is] coming back in March -- God bless him."
ENTOURAGE - As expected, the network confirmed it has renewed the freshman comedy for a second season despite its modest start.
THE SOPRANOS - Albrecht also confirmed "The Sopranos" won't back be until early 2006, meaning there will be at least an 18-month gap between seasons. Nevertheless, he hopes to entice creator David Chase to produce a few additional episodes beyond the planned 10-installment final season.
THE WIRE/FAMILY BONDS - The pay channel confirmed season three of "The Wire" will kick off on Sunday, September 19 at 9:00/8:00c, leading into the series debut of "Family Bonds" at 10:00/9:00c.
In addition, HBO has issued several press releases confirming the news:
HBO RENEWS NEW COMEDY SERIES ENTOURAGE, A LOOK INSIDE HOLLYWOOD�S CELEBRITY SCENE, WITH SECOND SEASON SET FOR NEXT YEAR
First Season Launched Last Sunday
LOS ANGELES, July 22, 2004 - HBO has renewed the new comedy series ENTOURAGE for a second season, it was announced today by Carolyn Strauss, president, HBO Entertainment. A look at the life of a young star and his buddies in Hollywood, the eight-episode first season kicked off last Sunday. Production on additional episodes will begin later this year, with the second season to launch in 2005 on HBO. �ENTOURAGE is already shaping up as both a critical and subscriber smash,� said Strauss. �I can�t wait to see what kind of stories creator Doug Ellin and his talented team will tell in the second season.� From executive producer Mark Wahlberg, the new eight-episode comedy series kicked off last Sunday, July 18 (10:00-10:30 pm ET), exclusively on HBO. Wahlberg also makes a cameo appearance in the first episode of the show, which draws on the experiences of industry insiders. The show has already sparked critical praise, with TV Guide hailing the show as �smart� and �seriously funny,� while Entertainment Weekly calls it �hilarious� and �packed firm with laughs.� The New York Times raves, �Nothing on network television is as smart, original and amusing,� adding, �The send-up of Hollywood mores and manners is merciless.� Filmed at Hollywood locations, ENTOURAGE tells the story of Vince, a sexy young movie star whose career is just taking off. To share the fun of the ride and keep him grounded, Vince looks to Eric, Drama and Turtle, his longtime pals from Queens. Together they experience the highs and lows of life in the fast lane of Hollywood, where the stakes are higher, and the money and temptations greater, than ever before. Adrian Grenier (�The Adventures of Sebastian Cole,� �Drive Me Crazy�) stars as Vince, who slips easily into stardom. Kevin Connolly (�The Notebook,� �Antwone Fisher�) plays Eric, who�s learning the rules of Hollywood as he tries to help Vince make the right choices. Kevin Dillon (�The Doors,� �Platoon�) plays Vince�s half-brother Drama, whose own acting aspirations have been eclipsed by Vince�s success. Jerry Ferrara (�NYPD Blue,� �Cross Bronx�) plays Turtle, the least experienced of the group, who�s always up for a good time. Jeremy Piven (�Old School,� �The Larry Sanders Show�) plays Ari, Vince�s aggressive, high-powered agent, who clashes with Eric over his client�s decisions. Along with Mark Wahlberg, cameo appearances in the first season of ENTOURAGE include Jessica Alba, Gary Busey, Larry David, David Faustino, Sara Foster, Val Kilmer, Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman and Luke Wilson. ENTOURAGE is created by Doug Ellin; executive produced by Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Doug Ellin and Larry Charles; co-executive producer, Timothy Marx; co-producer, Rob Weiss. Credits are for season one.
HBO RENEWS HIT COMEDY SERIES CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM FOR FIFTH SEASON, WITH PRODUCTION TO BEGIN ON TEN NEW EPISODES NEXT JANUARY
LOS ANGELES, July 22, 2004 - HBO has renewed the comedy series CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, executive produced by and starring Larry David, for a fifth season, it was announced today by Carolyn Strauss, president, HBO Entertainment. Production of ten new episodes of the Emmy(r)- and Golden Globe-winning series will begin in Los Angeles next January. Completing its fourth season of ten episodes last March (with 40 episodes to date), CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM stars �Seinfeld� co-creator David as himself in an unsparing, cinema verit� depiction of his life. Featuring real-life celebrities playing themselves, the episodes are improvised by the actors from storylines by David. CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM also stars Cheryl Hines as David�s wife Cheryl and Jeff Garlin as David�s manager Jeff. The fourth season of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM inspired critical raves. Variety said that the series �retains its place as the funniest of the funny on television today,� while TV Guide called it �one of the most hysterical satires TV has seen.� The Washington Post called the show �one of the absolutely funniest half-hours on television,� and New York Newsday described it as �painfully funny.� CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM received eight Emmy(r) nominations last week, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Larry David) and three for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (Larry Charles, Bryan Gordon, Robert B. Weide). In 2003, Robert B. Weide won a directing Emmy(r) for his work on the series. CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM is executive produced by Larry David, Jeff Garlin and Gavin Polone; executive producers/directors, Robert B. Weide and Larry Charles; producer, Tim Gibbons; co-producer, Erin O�Malley.
FAMILY BONDS, A NEW REAL-LIFE SERIES ABOUT AN OUTRAGEOUS FAMILY OF BOUNTY HUNTERS, DEBUTS IN SEPTEMBER, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO
�My name is Tom Evangelista. I work in New York with my wife, daughter, nephew and in-laws. Our policy is pretty simple: If you get arrested, we�ll bail you out. Things only get complicated if you run. Then, we�re coming after you. And we�re the best in the business. Some people call us bounty hunters, but to me, we�re just a family.�
� from the opening of FAMILY BONDS
Meet the Evangelistas of Medford, Long Island. As tight and tough as they come, they�re like any other hard-working American family, with one major difference - the Evangelistas are bail bondsmen and bounty hunters. Debuting SUNDAY, SEPT. 19 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET), exclusively on HBO, the new 10-part real-life series FAMILY BONDS reveals the day-to-day dramas of these outrageous people, on the job and off, as they confront the unpredictable dangers of bounty hunting and the challenges of family life with resourcefulness, warmth and humor. Debuting immediately following new episodes of �The Wire,� each half-hour episode is directed by Steven Cantor, whose credits include the CINEMAX Reel Life documentary �Devil�s Playground� and the Oscar(r) nominee �Blood Ties: The Life and Work of Sally Mann.� There�s Tom, age 46, the head of the family, a chain-smoking, tough-talking motorcycle buff with a reluctant heart of gold. He�s been a licensed bail bondsman for seven years. His company All City Bail Bonds - which posts bail money for criminal suspects who are unable to pay it themselves - has offices in Queens, Manhattan and Long Island. His voluptuous wife Flo has been married to Tom for 23 years. A fiercely devoted mother with a no-nonsense style, she balances her time between helping manage Tom�s offices and running the Evangelista household. Chris Evangelista is Tom�s fun-loving but volatile nephew. Also a licensed bail bondsman, he has worked for Tom for six years; since his divorce, Chris has lived with the Evangelista family, camping out on the couch. Tom and Flo�s son Sal (17) is eager to leave his job at the pizza parlor and follow his dad into the business. Dana Giassakis (20) is Tom and Flo�s level-headed daughter, and lives in Brooklyn with her husband Nick; she has finished junior college and plans to attend New York University in the fall to study psychology. Frankie (7) is Tom and Flo�s younger son, who observes the chaotic household with wide-eyed curiosity. Dawn Carfora, Flo�s brash, body-conscious sister, has been married to Jimmy Carfora for 20 years, and runs the office for Jimmy at All County Bail Bonds, a satellite office of Tom�s All City Bail Bonds, in Hempstead, New York. Kim Persinger, Flo�s oldest sister, has been the hard-working office manager at All City Bail Bonds since Tom founded the company. FAMILY BONDS follows the Evangelistas on the job, as they track down fugitives, and off the job, where they play as hard as they work. Among their adventures in the line of duty: The All City Bail Bonds team tracks Romanian scam artists in the Ridgewood section of Queens.
In Manhattan�s Riverside Park, Tom�s crew pursues a murder suspect, but the hunt has an unexpected outcome.
Apprehending a battery suspect in Brooklyn, Tom discovers significant quantities of methamphetamine.
In East New York, a fugitive escapes the dragnet, but Tom figures out another way to get his man.
Tom and his crew retrieve a fugitive from Pennsylvania in the dead of night.
Tom teaches Sal - now a recovery agent in training - the basics of taking down a suspect, using Chris to demonstrate.
Off-duty, the Evangelistas star in other kinds of family dramas: An anxious Frankie receives bike lessons from Tom, who grows too impatient with his son to finish the job. Flo later tries a gentler approach to this rite of passage, with different results.
In the Evangelistas� back yard, Sal marks his 18th birthday with a raucous bash that produces a few frayed nerves and bruised feelings.
At the Classy Lady nail salon, Flo and her sisters meet regularly to discuss intimate details of their sex lives, among other personal matters.
Tom tries acupuncture in an attempt to quit smoking.
Dana graduates from junior college at Kingsborough Community College with her proud family looking on, and looks ahead to attending NYU - the first in her family to be admitted to such a prestigious institution. But the result of her pregnancy test throws Dana�s college plans into doubt.
At John F. Kennedy High School�s career day, Tom makes a rare appearance in a suit, explaining his job to rapt teenagers looking for something other than the usual career options.
After a hard night of chasing bad guys, Chris shows his tender side when he visits his ex-wife and picks up his three young daughters for a carefree afternoon at the beach.
Stung by taunts about his weight from Tom and a suspect who outruns him, Chris begins a program to slim down.
Steven Cantor�s credits include the CINEMAX Reel Life documentary �Devil�s Playground� (producer), the Oscar(r)-nominated short film �Blood Ties: The Life and Work of Sally Mann� (producer and director), �Bounce: Behind the Velvet Rope� (producer and director), �Willie Nelson: Still Is Still Moving� (producer and director) and �Crossover� (producer and director). FAMILY BONDS is produced for HBO by Stick Figure Productions in association with Cactus Three; director, Steven Cantor; executive producers, Steven Cantor and Daniel Laikind; supervising editor and co-producer, Pax Wassermann; producer, Matthew Galkin; co-executive producers, Julie Goldman, Caroline Stevens and Krysanne Katsoolis; original music, Money Mark. Academy Award(r) and Oscar(r) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
HBO UNVEILS DIVERSE LINEUP OF DOCUMENTARY SPECIALS AND AMERICA UNDERCOVER PRESENTATIONS FOR THE SECOND HALF OF 2004
Presentations Include Lindsay Crystal�s MY UNCLE BERNS, Oscar(r)-Winning Documentary Short CHERNOBYL HEART, Alexandra Pelosi�s DIARY OF A POLITICAL TOURIST And Bill Couturi�s LAST LETTERS HOME
LOS ANGELES, July 22, 2004 - From an unfiltered peek behind the scenes on the Democratic presidential campaign trail, to new revelations about a notorious serial killer, to thought-provoking studies of the perils of nuclear power, HBO has set a provocative and timely lineup of documentary specials and America Undercover presentations for the second half of 2004. Among the leading documentary filmmakers whose work will be spotlighted are Nick Broomfield, Bill Couturi�, Maryann De Leo, Rory Kennedy, Marc Levin and Alexandra Pelosi. HBO documentary specials include:
Lindsay Crystal's MY UNCLE BERNS (debuting Aug. 5) chronicles her
grand uncle Bernhardt Crystal�s life in a poignant documentary that brings together three generations of the Crystal family. When she set out to chronicle her 88-year-old great-uncle�s remarkable journey through the 20th century, she already knew he was an accomplished artist, gallery owner and storyteller, thanks to the stories told by her father, comedian and actor Billy Crystal. But she was not prepared for the profound impact his reminiscences would have on her. Produced and directed by Lindsay Crystal; executive produced by Billy Crystal and Janice Crystal.
DEATH IN GAZA (Aug. 12) is a powerful film that takes a shocking first-hand look at the culture of hate permeating the Middle East. Award-winning filmmaker James Miller, accompanied by reporter Saira Shah, captured the lives of three Palestinian children, indoctrinated in the creed of Jihad and growing up in the bullet-riddled streets of Gaza. But on May 2, 2003, in the midst of filming, Miller was shot to death, falling victim to the conflict he covered. Produced, directed and filmed by James Miller; produced, written and reported by Saira Shah.
INDIAN POINT: IMAGINING THE UNIMAGINABLE (Sept. 9) spotlights the controversial nuclear power plant, located on the Hudson River 35 miles north of midtown Manhattan. Amidst a growing and heated debate about its future, the owners maintain Indian Point to be �safe, secure and vital,� while others believe it�s particularly vulnerable to terrorist attacks. The documentary explores the plant�s role in providing power to the region and investigates why it has become a focal point for the debate over safe and efficient energy resources in the wake of 9/11. Produced and directed by Rory Kennedy (HBO�s �A Boy�s Life� and �American Hollow�); produced by Liz Garbus.
CHERNOBYL HEART (Sept. 9), this year�s Academy Award(r) winner for Best Documentary Short, travels deep into the heart of the worst nuclear disaster in history, chronicling its continuing effects today. Following Adi Roche, founder of Ireland�s Chernobyl Children�s Project, the film reveals the invisible trail radiation leaves behind. (Debuts immediately following INDIAN POINT: IMAGINING THE UNIMAGINABLE.) Produced and directed by Maryann DeLeo.
Alexandra Pelosi�s DIARY OF A POLITICAL TOURIST (Oct. 11) follows her two-year road trip on the campaign trail with the Democratic presidential wannabes. This irreverent film documents the fun, exhaustion, pain, shame, tears, absurdity, hard work and ego that go into challenging the leader of the free world. Subjects include Gen. Wesley Clark, Gov. Howard Dean, Sen. John Edwards, Rep. Dick Gephardt, Sen. Bob Graham, Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Joe Lieberman. Directed and produced by Alexandra Pelosi (HBO�s �Journeys with George�). Upcoming America Undercover presentations include:
BACK IN THE HOOD: GANG WAR 2 (Aug. 26) returns to Little Rock, Ark.
- setting of the 1994 HBO documentary �Gang War: Bangin� in Little Rock� � to update the story. The film catches up with numerous former gang members from the first film, including Leifel Jackson, once one of the most notorious of the OGCs (Original Gangster Crips), who is now trying to live straight and make a positive difference in his neighborhood. Produced by Marc Levin and Daphne Pinkerson; directed by Marc Levin. LAST LETTERS HOME (Nov.), produced in association with the New York Times, is an intimate, deeply moving documentary featuring the last letters home from American soldiers in Iraq. Families of the dead read the letters aloud, in their hometowns, helping to preserve their memories. Produced and directed by Bill Couturi� (HBO�s Emmy(r)-winning �Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam�).
In AILEEN: LIFE AND DEATH OF A SERIAL KILLER (Nov.), Nick Broomfield revisits executed murderer Aileen Wournos (subject of the 2003 dramatic feature film �Monster�) 12 years after his documentary �Aileen Wournos: The Selling of a Serial Killer.� The new film explores Wuornos� childhood, which was marked by unrelenting abuse, and reveals the continued violence she endured as a hitchhiking prostitute, following the story through to her execution. Academy Award(r) and Oscar(r) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
ALEXANDRA PELOSI�S DIARY OF A POLITICAL TOURIST, AN ACCOUNT OF HER TWO-YEAR ROAD TRIP WITH DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS, DEBUTS OCT. 11, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO
Hundreds of state fairs to visit, thousands of babies to kiss, millions of hands to shake� What does it takes to become President of the United States of America? Alexandra Pelosi�s DIARY OF A POLITICAL TOURIST, chronicling her two-year road trip on the Democratic campaign trail � from the candidates� announcements, through the early primaries, to Super Tuesday and the convention � follows presidential wannabes as they make their run for the White House when the exclusive HBO documentary debuts MONDAY, OCT. 11 at 8:00 p.m. (ET). Following the 2002 HBO documentary �Journeys with George,� Pelosi�s irreverent account of George W. Bush on the campaign trail, she set out on the road again with a handful of distinguished men competing to see who could eat the most pies, raise the most money and get the most votes to become the Democratic Party nominee. An action-packed adventure criss-crossing America, her video diary reveals the fun, the exhaustion, the pain, the shame, the tears, the absurdity, the hard work and the ego that go into challenging the leader of the free word. DIARY OF A POLITICAL TOURIST offers a rare bird�s-eye view of the political process, departing from the official version to reveal the inner workings of democracy. Featured in the special are General Wesley Clark, Governor Howard Dean, Senator John Edwards, Congressman Dick Gephardt, Senator Bob Graham, Senator John Kerry and Senator Joe Lieberman, with cameo appearances by President George W. Bush. During the first year, Pelosi taped Democratic contenders as they made their debuts on the campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire. She summered in Iowa, visiting hog lots with John Kerry, peering inside John Edwards� bus and refrigerator, observing pie-eating contests with Dick Gephardt, tasting deep-fried Twinkies at the Iowa State Fair with Joe Lieberman, and riding along in Bob Graham�s RV, singing his theme song. In the fall, she taped and witnessed the rise and demise of Howard Dean. From the Iowa Caucuses through Super Tuesday, Pelosi followed each of the leading contenders as America voted them off the ballot. As a �political tourist,� Pelosi brings her unique perspective and humorous style to the quest to find out what it takes to become the sole survivor in the race for the West Wing. Among the memorable campaign moments she captures on tape are Gephardt�s �Gephardtpalooza� in Iowa; Lieberman efforts to create �Joe-mentum� in New Hampshire; �Grillin� with the Grahams�; Dean�s nationwide �Sleepless Summer Tour�; and Edwards� bus tour on the �Real Deal Express.� Alexandra Pelosi began her career in television covering politics in Washington, D.C., and subsequently served as a network news producer for five years. For her first film, 2002�s �Journeys with George,� Pelosi spent 18 months with the candidate and journalists on the campaign trail, covering the closest and most controversial presidential election in history. She is the daughter of Nancy Pelosi, California Democratic congresswoman and House minority leader. DIARY OF A POLITICAL TOURIST is written, directed and produced by Alexandra Pelosi; edited by Juliet Weber and Geof Bartz. For HBO: supervising producer, Lisa Heller; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.
CINEMAX SETS WIDE-RANGING SLATE OF PROVOCATIVE NEW CINEMAX REEL LIFE DOCUMENTARIES FOR SECOND HALF OF 2004
Presentations include Steve James� STEVIE, Oscar(r) Nominees MY ARCHITECT And FERRY TALES, And Jonathan Demme�s THE AGRONOMIST
LOS ANGELES, July 22, 2004 - From the secret life of a renowned architect, to a revealing trip on the Staten Island ferry, to the courage of a Haitian freedom fighter, CINEMAX has scheduled a wide range of provocative CINEMAX Reel Life documentaries from top filmmakers for the second half of 2004. Upcoming CINEMAX Reel Life documentaries include:
STEVIE (debuting July 27) takes a compelling look at the effects of
poverty, neglect and abuse. More than 20 years ago, Steve James (the Oscar(r) nominee �Hoop Dreams�) became a Big Brother to Stevie Fielding, a troubled 11-year-old from rural Illinois. After graduating college, James moved away and lost contact with Stevie; ten years later, he returned to reconnect with the boy he knew and bear witness to the man Stevie had become. This acclaimed film explores the impact people can have on the lives of others and the myriad forces that shape a young life. Directed by Steve James.
PEOPLE SAY I�M CRAZY (Aug. 18) is the personal story of John Cadigan. In fifth grade, he was the most popular, athletic and artistic student in class. In college, he became anti-social, catatonic and paranoid. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Cadigan could have completely retreated into his own world - instead, he made a movie about it. Produced by Katie Cadigan and Ira Wohl; directed by John Cadigan with Katie Cadigan.
FERRY TALES (Sept.), an Academy Award(r) nominee this year for Documentary Short, takes a sneak peak into a culture that happens 30 minutes a day on the Staten Island ferry en route to Manhattan in the ladies bathroom - a place where no men are allowed. As they put on their makeup and share life stories, these women are transformed from housewives to businesswomen, from mothers to lawyers, from sisters to socialites. Directed by Katja Esson.
THE END (Oct.) tells the absorbing stories of five terminally ill patients at the Kaiser Permanente Hospice Program in Los Angeles, each of whom used a home video camera to record the final days of their lives. Their diverse experiences encompass humor, sadness, anger, transcendence and, ultimately, acceptance. Produced by Eddie Schmidt; directed by Kirby Dick.
MY ARCHITECT (Nov.), Oscar(r)-nominated for Documentary Feature this year, follows the five-year odyssey of Nathaniel Kahn, acclaimed architect Louis Kahn�s only son, as he travels the world to discover the truth about his celebrated father and his own unusual upbringing. In 1974, Louis I. Kahn died alone and bankrupt in the men�s room of New York�s Penn Station. His dramatic death revealed a triple life: In addition to his wife and daughter, Kahn left behind two illegitimate children, by different women with whom he had long-term relationships. Directed by Nathaniel Kahn.
From Jonathan Demme (Oscar(r) winner for �The Silence of the Lambs�), THE AGRONOMIST (Dec.) tells the story of Haitian national hero, journalist and freedom fighter Jean Dominique, whom Demme first met and filmed in 1986. As owner and operator of his nation�s oldest and only free radio station, Dominique was frequently at odds with his country�s repressive government, and spent much of the �80s and early �90s in exile in New York, where Demme continued to interview him over the years, up until his still-unsolved assassination. Directed by Jonathan Demme. Academy Award(r) and Oscar(r) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.