HBO plays ‘Ball’ with 8-seg order

Skein likely to debut on pay cabler in January

HBO is getting ready to put “Baseball Wives” into its series rotation, ordering eight episodes including the recently completed pilot.

Project, which explores the lives of wives of Major League Baseball players, is exec produced by Tom Fontana, Barry Levinson, Julie Martin and Michelle Grace. Co-exec producers are Paula Press and Diane Nabatoff.

Skein is being shot in Florida and likely will debut on the pay cabler in January, leading into the next season of “Oz,” HBO’s senior VP of original programming Carolyn Strauss told Daily Variety.

Additional scripts also are part of the deal, so the number of episodes may wind up being more than the eight currently ordered.

Julie Warner (“Family Law”), led the ensemble cast in the pilot, along with Myndy Crist, Amy Ryan, Kerry Washington, Sara Ramirez and exec producer Grace. Danny Pino, Peter Simmons and Brian Bloom portrayed players-husbands.

Specific culture

“It’s a very specific culture. And the more specific something is, in a weird way, the more universal it is,” Strauss said of “Baseball Wives.” “There’s a tone and a style to the storytelling that’s a little different. It’s really about something. Through this lens we have the opportunity to examine marriage and women’s relationships with each other.”

“Baseball Wives” is among a small handful of dramas that HBO piloted recently. Among them is cop drama “The Wire,” which recently got an 11-episode series order and is slated to debut in the summer. Also, HBO is in post-production on the pilot “Carnivale,” and a decision on that project’s future is imminent.

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