Starz Gives 20-Episode Order Seth MacFarlane-Patrick

Starz has given a two-season, 20-episode order to a live-action comedy from Seth MacFarlane and scribe Jonathan Ames to star Patrick Stewart.

Blunt Talk” will be produced by Media Rights Capital and targeted to premiere next year. Stewart will play a British newscaster, Walter Blunt, who comes to America to conquer cable news. Starz’s significant commitment to the project that was shopped to pay-TV outlets, including Netflix and Showtime, signals the cabler’s interest in building a lineup of half-hour comedies.

“In the character of Walter Blunt, Seth, Jonathan and Patrick have found the alchemy that makes a borderline alcoholic, mad-genius-Brit the man you want fighting in America’s corner,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said. “Seth and Jonathan have struck the right balance between biting wit and outright absurdity in building this world, and we cannot wait for Patrick to breathe life into Walter.”

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Ames created the series and will serve as showrunner. MacFarlane will exec produce through his Fuzzy Door Prods. The show will not be produced through 20th Century Fox TV, where MacFarlane has the bulk of his TV projects. MRC is in business with MacFarlane on the feature side with “Ted” and its upcoming sequel and the hyphenate’s latest project, “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”

“We have wanted to work with Chris Albrecht for years. His instinct for character-driven series is unparalleled and he is not afraid to push the boundaries,” said Modi Wiczyk, co-CEO of MRC.

Ames previously created the HBO comedy “Bored to Death.” Stewart has worked with MacFarlane in the past as a character voice on the Fox toon “American Dad.”

“It’s been a delight to collaborate on ‘Blunt Talk’ with two such talented and strange men as Seth MacFarlane and Patrick Stewart,” Ames said. “The only problem is that sometimes on conference calls Seth will uncannily recreate Patrick’s voice, and I’m not sure who’s talking, but other than that it’s been smooth sailing.”

Starz will hang on to domestic digital and homevid rights to “Blunt Talk.”

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