Showtime lures George Clooney

Smokehouse to develop 'Thomas' for cabler

George Clooney and John Singleton are the latest feature producers to set up shop at Showtime.

Via their Smokehouse banner, Clooney and partner Grant Heslov are behind “Doubting Thomas,” an hourlong drama about a family of televangelists that the pay cabler is developing for a possible 2008 debut.

Hyphenate Peter Spears (“John From Cincinatti”) is writing the pilot script with Tom C. Smith and joining Clooney and Heslov as exec producer.

Brian Kirk, who’s directed segs of Showtime’s “The Tudors” and “Brotherhood,” is attached to direct the “Thomas” pilot if it’s greenlit.

Plot of “Thomas” has a powerful televangelist suffering a stroke, leaving him unable to continue his preaching. His oldest son has recently been embarassed by a scandal, leaving it to the prodigal youngest son — who has strayed from the family — to return and take over the father’s ministry.

Clooney and Heslov’s last two cable skeins were at HBO. Duo produced the political docusoap “K Street” for HBO in 2003 and then worked on the 2005 skein “Unscripted.”

In 2000, Clooney exec produced the CBS live telepic “Failsafe,” a project that grew out of Clooney’s longtime friendship with CBS supremo Leslie Moonves. Moonves now oversees Showime, with Bob Greenblatt serving as head of entertainment.

Singleton is exec producing “Trade,” an hourlong drama about the personal and professional lives of high-class call girls. Meredyth Smith (“Angel”) is writing the pilot and will exec produce with Singleton.

Singleton’s recent pics as a director include “Four Brothers” and “2 Fast 2 Furious.” He’s attached to direct the superhero pic “Luke Cage.”

Greenblatt has lined up a slew of high-profile development projects in recent months. Cabler is working on previously announced scripts from producers Steven Spielberg, Tim Robbins, Jennifer Lopez and Darren Star, with themes ranging from immigrant class struggles to religion.

It’s expected Showtime will decide which script or scripts from its current roster will get a pilot greenlit later this fall. Lensing on the projects will begin in January.

Cabler already has its busiest-ever slate of skeins on the air, including “Weeds,” “Dexter,” “Tudors,” “Brotherhood,” “This American Life” and “Meadowlands.” New David Duchovny skein “Californication” bows next month.

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