The series orders of “Homeland” and “House of Lies” is a strong indicator of the imprint entertainment prexy David Nevins is making at Showtime.
The moves mark the first two scripted skeins Nevins has shepherded from development to series. The former Imagine TV topper said the greenlights are emblematic of where the pay cabler’s programming is headed.
“Both shows, in their own way, widen the iris in the kinds of shows we can do,” Nevins told Variety. “They feel rich and pedigreed in their casting and production values.””Homeland” stars Claire Danes as a CIA officer investigating an Al Qaeda plot on American soil, while Don Cheadle toplines laffer “House of Lies.” He plays a cutthroat consultant who uses any means necessary to get his way with and for his clients.
Both series received 12-episode orders and will begin production in summer.
Also starring with Danes in “Homeland” are Damian Lewis, who will play a U.S. soldier who went missing and was presumed dead, and Mandy Patinkin as Danes’ boss and mentor.
Both thesps have plenty of broadcast and cable experience. Patinkin starred in “Chicago Hope” and “Criminal Minds” for CBS, but also worked for Showtime previously in “Dead Like Me.” Lewis, who toplined NBC cop show “Life,” played an American soldier in the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.”
“Homeland,” written by “24” vets Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, as well as Gideon Raff, is based on Raff’s Israeli skein “Prisoners of War.” Fox 21 is producing.
Nevins has a longstanding relationship with Gordon and Gansa, as “24” hailed from Imagine TV.
” ‘Homeland’ feels like a very interesting reflection on where the country is. It touches on contemporary topics like homeland security, our international situation and what takes place both inside the CIA as well as an ordinary American home,” Nevins said. “It’s more sprawling than what we’ve done in the past.”
“House of Lies” comes from creator Matthew Carnahan and is based on the book “House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Tell You the Time” by Martin Kihn.
Kristen Bell co-stars as an Ivy League graduate who works in Cheadle’s firm. Jessika Borsiczky, who was a showrunner on ABC’s sci-fi series “FlashForward,” and Stephen Hopkins exec produce.
Showtime has been on a roll of late, with season-two renewals of Brit import “Shameless” and Matt LeBlanc comedy “Episodes,” as well as healthy viewer returns for Sunday’s debut of “The Borgias.” Renaissance drama drew 1.4 million viewers for its combined showings, the highest audience reach for a new drama in seven years.
Cheadle is making a return to series TV after concentrating on a film career that has recently focused on the “Iron Man” franchise. Nevins said he had to convince the actor that fitting “House of Lies” into his busy schedule wouldn’t be problem. Production is only expected to last 12 weeks.
“I had to sell him on it,” said Nevins, who added that Cheadle, even in his dramas that range from the “Oceans” pics to “Hotel Rwanda,” has often shown a sharp comedic sense. “That’s the concern of any movie actor who hadn’t done television in a long time. I gave him the script and compelled him to do it.”
Nevins’ first series greenlight was “The Franchise: A Season With the San Francisco Giants.” A sneak preview episode will air Wednesday and then launch in July.