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EXCLUSIVE: Church off Showtime’s ‘Episodes’

Thomas Haden Church and Claire Forlani are off Showtime’s upcoming laffer “Episodes.” Thomas_Haden_Church-1-Smart_People

With the series currently in pre-production in London and set to begin shooting in the next few weeks, Church had to leave because of scheduling conflicts with an indie film he’s trying to put together. No reason was given for Forlani’s departure, but the pay cabler has already replaced her with Brit actress Tamsin Greig, who is well known in the U.K. but doesn’t have much of a profile in the States.

Starring Matt LeBlanc in a parody of himself, “Episodes” is a single-cam comedy about a successful British husband and wife (Forlani) comedy team who are lured by Hollywood to produce a new version of their hit series for a U.S. aud. However, they soon realize what the American execs have ruined their show and both the show and their marriage begins to unravel.

Church, who appeared as the villain in the most recent “Spider-Man” pic” and won an Emmy for the AMC miniseries “Broken Trail,” was to play a larger-than-life network exec. No replacement has been named.

David Crane (“Friends”) and Jeffrey Klarik created the series — a co-prod between Showtime and the BBC — and will exec produce with Jimmy Mulville through his Hat Trick shingle.

Showtime, which ordered seven episodes, has yet to announce a premiere date.

— Justin Kroll contributed to this report.

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