[05/11/05 - 12:00 AM]
Showtime Heats Up the Summer with New, Hot Comedy Series 'Barbershop' and 'Weeds' Premiering Back-To-Back on August 10

[via press release from Showtime]

SHOWTIME Heats up the Summer With New, Hot Comedy Series 'Barbershop' and 'Weeds' Premiering Back-to-Back on August 10

Omar Gooding Leads Ensemble Cast in 'Barbershop;' Series Begins Production May 9th

LOS ANGELES, May 11 -- Reinforcing the network's commitment to comedy programming, SHOWTIME will premiere its two newest entries, BARBERSHOP and WEEDS, in a one-hour comedy block on Wednesday, August 10th, it was announced today by Robert Greenblatt, President of Entertainment for Showtime Networks. BARBERSHOP, a television adaptation of the MGM hit movie franchise, will air at 10 PM (ET/PT), followed by WEEDS, starring Mary-Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins, at 10:30 PM (ET/PT). Both series will also have multiple weekly time periods, in keeping with Showtime's scheduling strategy to offer several viewing options. In addition, these two comedies will also be available "On Demand" for subscribers who want to view the show at any time. Both 10-episode series are shot in Los Angeles.

"BARBERSHOP and WEEDS are both intelligent, irreverent single-camera series with unforgettable characters and outrageous storylines that will make a strong statement about our commitment to comedy programming," said Greenblatt. "Also, both shows feature strong African American ensembles which tend to be rare in the television landscape. But beyond that, BARBERSHOP has already proven it appeals to a wide audience, and WEEDS begins with a fundamental white suburban neighborhood that gets affected by an unusual black family."

BARBERSHOP, the new single-camera half-hour comedy series features a talented cast of rising stars including Omar Gooding (ESPN's "Playmakers") in the lead role. Joining Gooding will be an ensemble cast including Gbenga Akinnagbe ("The Wire"), Anna Brown ("If Tomorrow Comes"), John Wesley Chatham (UPN's "Girlfriends"), Leslie Elliard (Broadway's "The Lion King"), Barry Shabaka Henley ("Collateral"), Toni Trucks and Dan White ("Ali").

The series begins where the MGM movie franchise left off, with most of the same endearing characters and a few new memorable ones added to the shop, set in a gradually gentrifying Chicago neighborhood. The cast of characters is headed by Calvin (Gooding), the soul of this close-knit community who runs the barbershop he inherited from his father which serves as the local hangout. There, with every snip of the scissors, hilarious conversations and heated discussions about the trials and tribulations of everyday life on Chicago's South Side take place. But unlike the original films, the series goes further as it delves humorously into issues of all kinds relating to these characters -- no subject is off-limits in the shop. The lively banter and funny wisecracks don't stop in the shop either. The series will further explore the personal lives of this multi-ethnic group of haircutters. BARBERSHOP will be distributed by MGM Television Entertainment Inc. and will be executive-produced by prolific writer and showrunner, John Ridley along with the feature films producing team of Robert Teitel, George Tillman Jr. and executive producer and star of the original films, Ice Cube.

WEEDS, a single-camera comedy starring Mary-Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, Kevin Nealon and Justin Kirk exposes the dirty little secrets that lie behind the pristine lawns and shiny closed doors of homes in the fictional town of Agrestic, California. Parker stars as a suburban mom who resorts to selling weed to support her family after her husband unexpectedly dies. Perkins stars as the uptight head of the PTA and Nealon plays a city councilman and one of Parker's regular customers. Parker's character finds unusual support and solace from an African American family as she begins to pursue her burgeoning business. Produced by Lions Gate Television in association with Tilted Productions, WEEDS is executive produced by Emmy(R) Award winner Jenji Kohan ("Friends"). Brian Dannelly ("Saved!"), who directed the series premiere, is a consulting producer and will direct additional episodes. Roberto Benabib ("Ally McBeal") is co-executive producer.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom Inc., owns the premium television networks SHOWTIME(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL(TM) and FLIX(R), as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME(R) TOO(TM), SHOWTIME(R) SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME(R), SHOWTIME BEYOND(R), SHOWTIME NEXT(R), SHOWTIME WOMEN(R), SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE(R) and TMC xtra. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD(R), SHOWTIME ON DEMAND(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND(TM) and FLIX ON DEMAND. SNI operates and manages the premium television network SUNDANCE CHANNEL(R), 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(R) PPV. Additionally, the advertiser-supported television network SHOWTIME is available in Turkey through a joint venture with UK-based Zone Vision.

Web Site: http://www.SHO.com

  [may 2005]  


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