[01/12/05 - 12:00 AM]
Showtime Greenlights Slate of New Series: The Cell, Brotherhood and Barbershop Join the Network's Original Programming Lineup

[via press release from Showtime]

Showtime Greenlights Slate Of New Series: The Cell, Brotherhood And Barbershop Join The Network's Original Programming Lineup

Los Angeles, January 12, 2005 -- Robert Greenblatt, President of Entertainment for Showtime Networks Inc., today announced that he has greenlighted three new series for the premium network -- THE CELL, BROTHERHOOD, and BARBERSHOP � in addition to the recently announced pick-up of the Mary-Louise Parker comedy series, WEEDS.

THE CELL is a topical, gripping one-hour drama about an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates a secret terrorist cell in Los Angeles. BROTHERHOOD is a one-hour drama following two brothers who went opposite ways in Providence, Rhode Island � one into the government and one into organized crime. And BARBERSHOP is a single-camera half-hour comedy adaptation of the popular film franchise of the same name that looks at the lives of a group of haircutters in an urban Chicago barbershop. All three series will be shot in the United States and will gradually be rolled out onto Showtime in the next 12-15 months, beginning with WEEDS this summer.

�We are putting an enormous emphasis on original series at this network � both drama and comedy � and our development season yielded an embarrassment of riches with two extraordinary dramas and two incredibly distinctive comedies,� said Greenblatt. �These shows are unique premium cable concepts with strong creative visions, and they have attracted the highest caliber of producers, directors, and actors consistent with our other original series FAT ACTRESS, THE L WORD, and HUFF.

THE CELL comes from writers/executive producers Ethan Reiff & Cyrus Voris (�Bulletproof Monk�). It is a chilling and unflinching look at all sides of a complicated issue, focusing on an African-American Muslim who joins an Islamic sleeper terrorist cell in the United States while working undercover for the FBI. The series stars rising film star Michael Ealy (�Barbershop,� �Never Die Alone� and �Their Eyes Were Watching God�) as the undercover agent and Oded Fehr (the �Mummy� movies) as the ruthless leader of the cell. Clark Johnson, who directed the pilots for both FX�s �The Shield� and HBO�s �The Wire� in addition to the 2003 feature film �S.W.A.T,� directed the pilot of THE CELL. Ten episodes, including the pilot, have been ordered, and the Showtime creative executive is Danielle Gelber. The show will be shot in Los Angeles.

BROTHERHOOD, set against the disparate worlds of politicians and mob bosses, looks at how gray good and evil can be. Placed in a fictional Irish neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island known as �The Hill,� the series explores what lengths people go to achieve the elusive American dream. The show stars Jason Isaacs (�The Patriot,� �Harry Potter� films) and Jason Clarke (�Rabbit Proof Fence�) as Michael and Tommy Caffee, two brothers on opposite sides of the law, determined to protect the neighborhood and what is theirs by whatever means necessary. It is a story of rivalry and revenge, of loyalty and allegiance and ultimately of family and commitment. The series also stars Annabeth Gish (�The West Wing�), Ethan Embry, Stivi Paskoski and Fionnula Flanagan. Veteran filmmaker Phillip Noyce (�Clear and Present Danger,� �Patriot Games,� �Rabbit Proof Fence� and �The Quiet American�) directed the pilot which was executive produced and written by Blake Masters (�Dreadnaught�). Elizabeth Stephen (�Myst�) also serves as the executive producer on behalf of Mandalay Television. Twelve episodes, including the pilot, have been ordered and the Showtime creative executive is Joan Boorstein. It is anticipated that the show will be shot completely on location in Providence, Rhode Island.

BARBERSHOP, based on the successful MGM feature films, was adapted for television by writer/director John Ridley (�Three Kings,� �Platinum,� �Undercover Brother�), who is very active in television and films, in addition to being a prolific novelist. Robert Teitel and George Tillman, Jr., who also produced both the �Soul Food� movie and the Showtime television series of the same name, are series executive producers along with Ice Cube with whom they produce the �Barbershop� films. Most of the characters from the popular �Barbershop� movies have been retained, headed by Calvin, the reluctant hero and neighborhood confessor who runs the barbershop he inherited from his father. A few new memorable characters have also been added to the world. The continuing comical exploits of these people will be explored along with contemporary issues facing them, set against the slowly gentrifying backdrop of this fictional Chicago neighborhood. Ten episodes have been ordered to be shot in Los Angeles, and the Showtime creative executive is Pearlena Igbokwe. The series, which has not been cast yet, is being produced through Showtime in a co-production with MGM Television Entertainment, Inc., who will also retain worldwide distribution. The actors from the films are not expected to reprise their roles in the series.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (NYSE: MGM), through its Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. subsidiary, is actively engaged in the worldwide production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home video, interactive media, music and licensed merchandise. The company owns the world�s largest library of modern films, comprising about 4,000 titles. Operating units include MGM Pictures, United Artists, MGM Television Entertainment, MGM Networks, MGM Distribution Co., MGM Home Entertainment, MGM On Stage, MGM Consumer Products, MGM Music, MGM Interactive and MGM Direct. In addition, MGM has ownership interests in international TV channels reaching nearly 120 countries. For more information, visit www.mgm.com.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom Inc., owns the premium television networks SHOWTIME�, THE MOVIE CHANNEL� and FLIX�, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME� TOO�, SHOWTIME� SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME�, SHOWTIME BEYOND�, SHOWTIME NEXT�, SHOWTIME WOMEN�, SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE� and TMC xtra. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD�, THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD�, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND� and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND�. SNI operates and manages the premium television network SUNDANCE CHANNEL�, which is a venture between NBC Universal, Robert Redford, and Showtime Networks Inc. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME� PPV. Additionally, the advertiser-supported television network SHOWTIME is available in Turkey through a joint venture with UK-based Zone Vision.

  [january 2005]  


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