Once again Showtime is casting a wide net with its pilot pickups. The network has given the green light to four drama projects whose protagonists include a criminal lab technician doubling as a likable serial killer; Britain's notorious King Henry VIII; a scheming young lawyer; and an ensemble of paid male and female escorts.
In his first batch of pilot orders last May, openly gay Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt picked up three dramas and three comedies featuring wide-ranging and often unconventional themes and settings. Four of the pilots--including two dramas, The Cell, about an Islamic sleeper terrorist cell in the U.S.; and Brotherhood, about two brothers, a politician, and a mobster--have since been ordered to series.
This year's crop of drama pilots include Filthy Gorgeous, from out Oscar-nominated writer Ron Nyswaner and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Chicago, It's All Relative); Dexter, from Emmy-winning writer James Manos Jr. and former Paramount Pictures executive-turned-producer John Goldwyn; The Tudors, from writer Michael Hirst and producers Ben Silverman, Eric Fellner, and Tim Bevan; and The Bastard, from writer Robert Greenwalt.
Filthy Gorgeous is described as a mix of comedy, drama, and sex that revolves around a group of highly paid male and female escorts and their clients. Nyswaner, nominated for an Oscar for Philadelphia and writer of Showtime's Soldier's Girl, penned the pilot. He is executive-producing with Zadan, Meron, and Robert Allan Ackerman (Showtime's The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone), who is also on board to direct. Ackerman also directed Zadan and Meron's acclaimed TV projects The Reagans and Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows.
Dexter, based on Jeff Lindsay's novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, centers on Dexter Morgan, a highly respected lab technician for the Miami-Dade police department who specializes in blood spatter--a handsome, polite man who also happens to be a sociopathic serial killer who commits occasional dismemberments. Manos, an Emmy winner for cowriting an episode of HBO's The Sopranos, penned the script and is exec-producing the pilot with Goldwyn and Sara Colleton.
The Tudors is a serialized drama about the reign and marriages of King Henry VIII. Hirst (Elizabeth) wrote the pilot and is exec-producing with Reveille's Silverman and Working Title Films' Fellner and Bevan. The Bastard, from writer-executive producer-director Greenwalt (the WB Network's Angel), is described as a comically twisted dark mystery that follows a brilliant young lawyer who schemes to claim his birthright in a wealthy dysfunctional family that owns a posh resort. (Nellie Andreeva, via Reuters, with additional reporting by Advocate.com)