Talking to critics at a Bastille Day panel at the Television Critics Association press tour, Showtime Entertainment President Robert Greenblatt talked about the status of a slew of upcoming and pending projects, as well as the fate of Sleeper Cell and Masters of Horror.
Premiere Dates: We’ve already reported this, but the third season of Weeds will kick off on August 13, followed by the series premiere of Californication, a new half-hour dramedy starring David Duchovny. A month-and-a-half later on Sept. 30, Dexter and Brotherhood will both return for their second season. Greenblatt also said that the second season of The Tudors, currently in production in Dublin, will be back in April 2008.
The fate of Sleeper Cell: The second season of Showtime’s terrorist serial Sleeper Cell premiered last December to mostly positive notices and virtually no ratings updates. It was soon reported that the network had no plans for a third season. Apparently that isn’t necessarily the case.
"Sleeper Cell, we have been talking, you know, very loosely about possibly revisiting it down the road, no firm plans at all. You know, we don’t have holds on any of those actors, but we thought, you know, sort of along the lines of Prime Suspect, you know, which, every few years, kind of does another installment. It might be interesting to see what the state of terrorism is, you know, a couple years from now and possibly look at another Sleeper Cell installment. I hope the state of terrorism will be vastly improved, but unfortunately, I don’t think it will be."
The fate of Masters of Horror: The last installment of the Masters of Horror anthology aired in February and there haven’t been any reports on a possible third run.
"Masters of Horror was a show that we were doing with a production company that was then bought by Starz, and sort of — they lost their — they had all these sort of foreign co-production deals in trying to make this show, and they all sort of — the production financing of that show largely sort of evaporated," Greenblatt says. "And so the producers of that show are trying to figure out how to put that show back together. And if they do, we’ve told them we’re interested in them doing more for us. I don’t know that there will be any Masters of Horror anywhere."
Upcoming pilots: Showtime was very high on the DreamWorks TV-produced The United States of Tara, going so far as to put out a handy press release. But Greenblatt also mentioned Trade, produced by John Singleton, and Doubting Thomas, from George Clooney’s Smokehouse shingle.
"We’re developing both of those projects, among a number of other things, and they’re both, you know, really interesting, provocative subject matter," Greenblatt says. "One is about evangelism. That’s the Doubting Thomas project. And the other one is about sex workers, you know, prostitutes and that whole end of the business with, I guarantee you, no actual penetration."
That’s a little joke about HBO’s much-discussed Tell Me You Love Me.
He continues, "And they came to us — John Singleton was very passionate about Trade and George Clooney and his partner Grant Heslov brought the other project to us and, you know, they’re one of several things we’re developing. The only frustration we always have is trying to call down the many good choices we now have to the few shows that get made."