×
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

  • Laverne Cox Charlie's Angels

    How Laverne Cox Landed a Cameo in Elizabeth Banks' 'Charlie’s Angels'

    Laverne Cox officially earned her wings, scoring a role in Sony’s “Charlie’s Angels.” But she revealed her cameo almost didn’t happen. When the Emmy-nominee heard that Elizabeth Banks was directing the film, the longtime fan of the franchise (and of Banks herself) reached out about being part of the project. Cox had previously worked with [...]

  • Lena Waithe'The Inheritance' Broadway play opening,

    Lena Waithe, Anderson Cooper Attend Broadway Opening of 'The Inheritance'

    “The Inheritance” pulls viewers in many directions — toward pain and hope, trauma and healing. It’s what brought stars like Andy Cohen, Anderson Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Lena Waithe to Broadway on Sunday — a chance to heal, to remember and grieve. Also in attendance for the premiere at the Barrymore Theater [...]

  • Cybill ShepherdTrevorLIVE, Show, The Beverly Hilton,

    'The L Word' Co-Stars Cybill Shepherd and Jane Lynch Reunite at TrevorLive

    Fans of Showtime’s “The L Word” will be happy to hear that Cybill Shepherd eagerly reprised her on-screen romance with former co-star Jane Lynch on Sunday night at the TrevorLive Gala at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. While accepting the champion Award, Shepherd kissed Lynch not one, but twice. The “Moonlighting” star was recognized [...]

  • Rami Malek, Robert Pattinson and John

    Robert Pattinson Praises Fans for Raising Funds for Go Campaign: ‘It’s So Sweet’

    Robert Pattinson is giving back, but he’s even more impressed that his friends and fans are joining him in the fight. “It’s amazing,” Pattinson told Variety on the black carpet outside Neuehouse in Hollywood at the Go Campaign’s annual gala. “And they’ve done it every year. It’s kind of — it’s so sweet and I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content