Cable net Ovation inks actor for unscripted look at his artistic life
Just when James Franco couldn’t seem to get any busier, he goes and tops himself.
The prolific actor-writer-director-teacher and all-around polymath will star and executive produce an unscripted series in which he’ll explore his many personal artistic pursuits and passions. Ten hourlong episodes of “James Franco Presents” will premiere in November on cable network Ovation.
True to the actor’s enigmatic style, Franco had dropped hints Tuesday regarding his TV plans accompanied by unusual artwork on Twitter and Instagram but didn’t begin spilling the particulars until Wednesday. Franco will continue to leverage his social-media presence to extend the “Presents” experience across platforms.
With “Presents,” Franco will pull back the curtain on the many side projects he is perpetually involved with, from his latest art exhibit to his work in collegiate classrooms. The series will give viewers a glimpse at highlights of the hundreds of hours of video he’s shot over the years that’s never been seen before, including some of his experimental short films. In addition to plumbing his past work, Franco will also let cameras tag along in other facets of his professional life as well.
“Presents” will also venture beyond Franco’s own work to highlight everything from interesting trends in the art world to other up-and-coming artists.
Although the series delves into Franco’s life, Ovation chief creative officer Robert Weiss characterized “Presents” not as a reality show but an “anthology docuseries.”
“The show sees the word of art through James’ eyes,” he said. “All the different exploits that James is involved in, this show encompasses.”
While Franco appears in every episode as the host introducing each segment, his screen time will vary depending on how much he himself is a subject of each hour.
“Presents” is a coup for Ovation, an independent arts-and-entertainment cable network in 50 million homes across the U.S. With Franco on board, the network is bringing another high-profile figure to make the arts world sexy; Anna Wintour toplines unscripted series “The Fashion Fund” in December and imported British acquisition “Young Doctors’ Notebook” stars Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe.
“This series with James Franco is the biggest series to ever be on Ovation,” Weiss said.
“Presents” marks Franco’s first primetime series since his breakthrough role on the NBC dramedy “Freaks & Geeks,” which bowed in 1999. He’s kept busy in other dayparts, having made notable appearances as varied as “The Academy Awards,” “General Hospital” and “Saturday Night Live.”
Franco will next be seen Sept. 2 as the guest of honor on the “Comedy Central Roast.”
“Presents” is produced by Ovation Studios and Franco’s shingle, Rabbit Bandini Prods.