Showtime imports Marc Wootton

Tracey Ullman renewed for second season

Showtime is bulking up its comedy slate for 2009, ordering a series from Blighty comedian Marc Wootton and greenlighting a second season of Tracey Ullman’s “State of the Union.”

Moves come as Showtime moves closer to giving series orders to its Edie Falco and Toni Collette pilots, both of which are comedies. Nothing’s been decided yet, but both projects are highly likely to move forward sometime this summer, joining a Showtime laffer slate which already includes “Weeds” and “Californication.”

“We’re on a bit of a comedy kick right now,” Showtime entertainment prexy Robert Greenblatt told Daily Variety.

Exec is particularly high on Wootton, who’s well known in the U.K. (and to BBC America auds) for characters such as theatrical psychic Shirley Ghostman.

“I believe he is the new Sasha Baron Cohen,” Greenblatt said, noting Wootton’s ability to mine comedy by fooling everyday folks into thinking his characters are real.

In an unusual move, rather than developing a pilot, Showtime is giving Wootton a blind, six-episode series order and is allowing him to create a character-driven, alternative comedy in which his characters interact with unassuming real people.

It also helps that Showtime is flush with cash, thanks to the $300 million or so it will begin saving once its movie output deals expire in 2010. Execs at the cabler have made it clear that the extra coin will be funneled into more original series.

In addition to toplining the BBC skein “High Spirits With Shirley Ghostman,” Wootton also wrote and starred in the comedy quizzer “My New Best Friend” and the BBC sketch comedy “Marc Wootton Exposed.”

Wootton’s Showtime project will be exec produced and directed by Misha Manson-Smith (“Death in Gaza”). Wootton and Michael Rizzo will exec produce.

As for Ullman’s “State of the Union,” Showtime has ordered a second season of seven episodes. Skein will return next year.

“State of the Union” premiered March 30 and wrapped its five-episode frosh season on Sunday.

More Scene

  • SAG Awards Prep

    Sneak Peek at 2018 SAG Awards Post-Show Gala

    Showtime is bulking up its comedy slate for 2009, ordering a series from Blighty comedian Marc Wootton and greenlighting a second season of Tracey Ullman’s “State of the Union.” Moves come as Showtime moves closer to giving series orders to its Edie Falco and Toni Collette pilots, both of which are comedies. Nothing’s been decided […]

  • Sundance Parties

    Sundance 2018: The Insider's Party Guide

    Showtime is bulking up its comedy slate for 2009, ordering a series from Blighty comedian Marc Wootton and greenlighting a second season of Tracey Ullman’s “State of the Union.” Moves come as Showtime moves closer to giving series orders to its Edie Falco and Toni Collette pilots, both of which are comedies. Nothing’s been decided […]

  • '12 Strong' film premiere

    '12 Strong': Chris Hemsworth Hopes Film Can Reduce 'Misconceptions' About Afghanistan

    Showtime is bulking up its comedy slate for 2009, ordering a series from Blighty comedian Marc Wootton and greenlighting a second season of Tracey Ullman’s “State of the Union.” Moves come as Showtime moves closer to giving series orders to its Edie Falco and Toni Collette pilots, both of which are comedies. Nothing’s been decided […]

  • Guillermo del Toro, Greta Gerwig and

    Timothée Chalamet Says He'd Love to Work With Christopher Nolan or Guillermo del Toro

    Showtime is bulking up its comedy slate for 2009, ordering a series from Blighty comedian Marc Wootton and greenlighting a second season of Tracey Ullman’s “State of the Union.” Moves come as Showtime moves closer to giving series orders to its Edie Falco and Toni Collette pilots, both of which are comedies. Nothing’s been decided […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content