Production on the fifth and final season begins next week in London with the first table read happening tomorrow in the U.K. Season 5 is slated for a 2017 debut and will consist of seven episodes.
The critically acclaimed and award-winning comedy, which paints a behind-the-scenes picture on the entertainment industry, stars “Friends” alum Matt LeBlanc.
Showtime’s confirmation of the final season comes after long-running speculation that the series would end, with LeBlanc tweeting late last year that he has “one more season” to shoot. Fueling the fire of the show’s imminent ending, Showtime’s president of programming Gary Levine told reporters that there is a “real possibility” the show would end after Season 5 this past January at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
“‘Episodes”‘ scathing portrait of network executives has kept me on my best behavior these last several years, for which I am grudgingly grateful to Jeffrey and David,” said Levine. “I love this show and can’t wait to see what comic heights Matt and company will scale during the fifth and final season of our inspired series.”
Co-creators David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik commented: “We have had the best time making this show. Showtime has been the opposite of every network we write about. If it were up to them we could go on making ‘Episodes’ forever. But we’ve told the story we set out to tell and we’d never want to outstay our welcome.”
In Season 5, LeBlanc is the host of “The Box,” a wildly successful game show. Unfortunately, the world seems to have forgotten he was ever an actor. Meanwhile, Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) are forced to work for Sean’s former partner Tim (Bruce Mackinnon), perhaps the worst showrunner in the history of television. Carol (Kathleen Rose Perkins) is out of a job, out of money and possibly out of show business. And Merc (John Pankow), a producer on “The Box,” never resists the opportunity to ruin Matt’s life. Klarik will direct all seven episodes.
“Episodes,” which premiered in 2011, has received 10 Emmy nominations including outstanding lead actor in a comedy for LeBlanc and outstanding writing for Crane and Klarik for every single season the series has been eligible. The industry-insider comedy has also been nominated twice for best series at the Golden Globes with LeBlanc winning the best actor Globe for the first season. Crane and Klarik exec produce “Episodes” with Jimmy Mulville of Hat Trick prods.
For LeBlanc, the long-rumored ending of “Episodes” comes as the “Friends” fan-favorite is eyeing his return to broadcast comedy — CBS greenlit a LeBlanc sitcom pilot with a hefty series commitment, meaning it will likely be ordered for the 2016-17 television season.