CBS Corp.’s two other properties: Showtime and The CW, held their presentations at TCA recently:
CEO David Nevins addressed rival FX’s programmer John Landgraf’s comments regarding “too much TV”: “There is never enough great TV”, Nevins responded.
Nevins also said he was developing a comedy with Jim Carrey about the 1970’s comedy club scene, and is developing a drama with Hip-Hop artist and Chicago native Common about growing up on the south side of Chicago. The untitled project so far has managed to steer clear of controversy by a similar project from Spike Lee, whose Chiraq is getting slammed by local politicians and some community leaders. “This is not [The] Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” noted Nevins.
He was also satisfied with the way the Twin Peaks reboot was progressing, with showrunner David Lynch returning to the show after walking off the set a few weeks ago over creative differences.
– The only new show to hold a panel at Showtime’s presentation was for Billions, a drama set on Wall Street. The new series features Emmy Winners Damian Lewis as a corrupt hedge fund king and Paul Giametti as a U.S. attorney looking to take him down – Lewis’ character was a blue-collar schmo who becomes enamored with his new wealth and power on Wall Street. Lewis told the press: “He lives by a code of honor, a set of street rules … where loyalty is fiercely protected and people are dispatched ruthlessly if they don’t adhere to that code.What’s going to be interesting for this story is the story of who will Bobby Axelrod [Lewis’ character] turn out to be. What is he prepared to do to retain power?”
This sounds a lot like Al Capone and Eliot Ness. Billions premiers in January.
Executive session: Mark Pedowitz took to the stage to talk about the critical success The CW has achieved with Jane The Virgin and Arrow, saying he’s proud of both shows and would give a significant marketing push for both – something the network hasn’t done for sophomore series before. Pedowitz also said he was offered CBS’ new Supergirl but passed, saying he has already enough DC Comics series on the schedule. Pedowitz also said the long-running Supernatural (the last remaining show on the air coming from The WB) can stay as long as its budget is manageable.
Pedowitz announced the renewals of Penn and Teller and Whose Line Is It Anyway; Britney Spears to guest star in a Jane The Virgin episode; and Matt Ryan of NBC’s now-canceled Constantine appears on Arrow next season – both programs are DC Comics properties, hence the crossover.
The most anticipated panel of the day was for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, an hour-long comedy/drama starring Rachel Bloom which has already generated positive buzz. And if you think the premise is nutty (women gives up law career in New York City to following her ex-boyfriend to West Covina, Ca.) the panel was just as. Originally a half-hour Showtime pilot, the CW version added thirteen minutes of material on average, though profanity was taken out and some of the sexiness was toned down.
So what defines “crazy” in this show? It’s more than ditching a well-paid career in the Big Apple to follow an ex. Bloom said: “We knew we wanted to start with a character who was in a bad place and looked at Josh Chan [the ex-boyfriend] as an escape. It’s very important that this is not a SNL character; this is someone struggling with issues. We’re going to explore that throughout the series.”
Expect musical numbers – a lot of them, averaging two to three an episode, according to the executive producer and Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna – though don’t look for giant pretzels to be a part of every number. And we may see some tap dancing:
“How many people on this panel can tap dance? You don’t get that with every show,” McKenna told the crowd, saying her show is quite different from the standard hour-long fare. “Ask the panel of “Blood And Oil”, are they going to tap? I assume that show’s about viscous liquids.”
It’s kind of hard to envision former Miami Vice star Don Johnson (now of Blood And Oil) tapdance…although he can sing…allegedly (remember 1986’s Heartbeat?)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend premieres on Oct. 12.