×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Kiernan Shipka and Ross LynchMTV Movie

    MTV Movie & TV Awards: What You Didn't See on TV

    Many of the biggest stars in movies and television — including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kiernan Shipka, Sandra Bullock, Tessa Thompson and Brie Larson — came together to present and receive honors at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards, hosted by “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi. And while non-attendees are able to enjoy [...]

  • Dan Stevens

    'Legion' Star Dan Stevens Says His Character Would Fight Thanos, 'Wreak Havoc' in MCU

    Dan Stevens said his powerful, telepathic mutant Legion would do some serious damage if he ever crossed over from the eponymous FX series into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Legion would wreak havoc. He’d probably take on Thanos, let’s see that,” he told Variety on the red carpet at the premiere of the trippy, mind-bending superhero series [...]

  • Anthony Anderson LADF

    Why Anthony Anderson and Billie Jean King are Giving Back with the Dodgers Foundation

    Celebrities and athletes came together at the Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala to celebrate the team’s commitment to supporting youth and to catch a glimpse of the event’s headliner: Bruno Mars. Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss were honored at the fifth annual event, which raised over $3 million for programs benefiting Los Angeles youth. [...]

  • Shia LaBeouf poses at the premiere

    Shia LaBeouf to Host Birthday Fundraiser for Slauson Rec. Theater Company

    Shia LaBeouf is celebrating his 33rd birthday by giving back. The actor, who turned 33 on June 11, will host a fundraising concert later this month for the Slauson Rec Theater Company, a 10-month-old free performing arts program he co-founded in downtown Los Angeles. The night will also include a preview of the Slauson Rec [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content