HBO, Section 8 end ‘K Street’

Prod'n co. pair ink for 2nd limited-run series

HBO and Section Eight partners Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney have mutually decided to retire “K Street,” the docudrama/political reality hybrid that just completed a 10-episode run.

HBO and the duo have agreed to return with another limited-run series to be shot in the same way but set in a different venue.

Soderbergh and Clooney exec produced the series with James Carville and Mark Sennet. They expected to be somewhat involved in the series about D.C. lobbyists but became so engrossed in the format that Soderbergh wound up directing every episode. Clooney got a union card in order to be “K Street’s” cinematographer.

The attention to detail led to an edgy drama about a bipartisan lobbying firm headed by Carville and Mary Matalin and was populated by real life politicos who mixed with actors including John Slattery and Mary McCormack.

Each episode of “K Street” was filmed over three days, followed by two days of editing; it aired two days later. “They were working nonstop for six days a week,” a source close to the production said. “Their level of commitment was overwhelming, but midway through it became clear they’d have to stop once they told a complete arc in the first 10 episodes.”

The upside for HBO is that Soderbergh and Clooney so enjoyed the experience that they plan to shoot another limited-run series next time they have openings in their schedule. Soderbergh and Clooney will return as exec producers, and possibly directing and working the camera.

Soderbergh and Clooney are reuniting in 2004 on “Ocean’s Twelve,” with Soderbergh directing the “Ocean’s Eleven” sequel and Clooney reprising his starring role. Warner Bros. and producer Jerry Weintraub expect encores from co-stars Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Bernie Mac and Andy Garcia.

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