Category: Showtime

'The Borgias' renewed for third season on Showtime

Showtime renews 'The Borgias'

"The Borgias," Showtime's drama about Vatican intrigue during the Italian Renaissance, has just been renewed for a third season.

The series stars Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexancer VI, the patriarch of the infamous family that uses less than honable ways to muscle its way into the papacy.

Neil Jordan ("The Crying Game"), who create the series, will continue to serve as executive producer and to write and direct select episodes.


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— Greg Braxton

Photo: Jeremy Irons in "The Borgias." Credit : Jonathan Hession/Showtime.

‘Nurse Jackie’ recap: Home Early

Nurse Jackie

Nurse Jackie is out. Free from rehab. Sure it’s supposed to take 28 days, but this is Jackie we’re talking about. She manages to speed through steps four through eight all in one night with the help of a handful of old pens, a bowl of Good and Plenties, and a surprisingly accommodating orderly. It has only been two weeks, both in the show and for us the audience, but Jackie is checking herself out, against the better judgment of everyone in her group therapy and medical advice. Jackie’s counselor Laura warns her about the outside world. She’s been in an incubator for the last 16 days. Outside the air is going to burn her skin. Jackie isn’t worried. She can handle whatever sobriety can throw at her. She is Nurse Jackie for goodness sake.

Jackie’s motivation for leaving is a little suspect. She claims it is all about being back with Grace. Last week, Green Hair Charlie got Jackie to admit that she first started using drugs after Grace was born and Jackie couldn’t handle her constant crying. Jackie told the group she realized she needed to get out when Grace stopped by, raccooned with eye-liner. Though she described it as seeing her daughter with two black eyes.  A bit overdramatic. Makes me wonder if Jackie really is running to her daughter or running away from the uncomfortable truths rehab is bringing out of her.

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'The Franchise' goes inside with Miami Marlins' Ozzie Guillen


Showtime is starting to promote its baseball reality series, "The Franchise: A Season with the Miami Marlins," with a preview this weekend that will air just a few days after the return of the team's manager, Ozzie Guillen, who was suspended for five games because of his comments praising Fidel Castro.

The 30-minute preview will air Saturday and include the events surrounding Guillen's suspension.

The controversial manager returned to the team Tuesday after being suspended for telling Time magazine he loves Castro and respects the retired Cuban dictator for staying in power so long.

At a news conference, Guillen maintained that his statement was misinterpreted by the reporter, and that he doesn't admire or love Castro. Still, he apologized and said he'll do what he can to repair relations with Cuban Americans furious with his comments.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig called Guillen's statements to the magazine "offensive to an important part of the Cuban community and others throughout the world" and said they "have no place in our game."


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-- Greg Braxton

Photo: Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen during a news conference in which he apologized for remarks praising Fidel Castro. Credit: Lynne Sladky / Associated Press



‘Nurse Jackie’ recap: I am a nurse

Nurse jackie

Many times in the past, "Nurse Jackie" seemed like two different shows. There was the heavy, dark storylines about Jackie dealing with her addiction and the havoc it caused in everyone’s life around her, and then there were the goofy, light-side stories about Zoey flirting with Lenny or Coop upset that his lesbian moms were getting a divorce. The problem is when you get an actor as commanding as Edie Falco doing your dark side, the light side can get overshadowed. The whimsical antics of the other nurses becomes trivial after watching Jackie smash her finger with a hammer to cover up that she had to cut off her wedding ring. 

I wrote last week how Season Four feels like a turning point for "Nurse Jackie." She was finally facing accountability for her actions instead of slipping free of blame like she had so many times before. This week, "Nurse Jackie" continues on that path, giving the side characters in Jackie’s life major changes themselves. Everyone on "Nurse Jackie" is becoming as interesting as Nurse Jackie. 

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‘Nurse Jackie’ recap: Act Two

Paul Schulze as Eddie and Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton in "Nurse Jackie."

I have been tracking "Nurse Jackie" for the last three years, and as much as I enjoy the antics at All Saints Hospital, I’ve always had one complaint. No one ever held Jackie accountable for her actions. Can’t really blame them. Jackie is an expert liar. None of her coworkers or family members ever got the complete story, and when they did, Jackie had an uncanny luck. Akalitus would toss out Jackie’s urine test in defiance of her bosses or Jackie would turn an intervention back around on her husband and Dr. O’Hara. In three seasons, Jackie never met a situation she couldn’t manipulate. She never had to truly deal with the consequences of her actions. Until now.

Season Four starts with Jackie checking into rehab. As she’s checked in, Jackie gets the TSA treatment and the standard spell. From this point forward, she is accountable. For the next 28 days, she won’t be able to blame missing medication on temp nurses or sneak into the basement for the pills she hid in their Easter decorations. This new-found accountability marks a significant shift in the show, and hopefully it will bring with it a brilliant second act for the series.

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'The Franchise' on Showtime teams up with Miami Marlins

"The Franchise," Showtime's sports documentary show, will look at the Miami Marlins, including new star Jose Reyes, for its second season

"The Franchise," Showtime's sports documentary series that probes the behind-the-scenes happenings of a professional baseball team, will return for a second season -- with the Miami Marlins as the focus.

Last season, the series put the spotlight on the San Francisco Giants as they defended their World Series title.

The Marlins recently acquired several all-stars, including Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and Carlos Zambrano, who will join up with established Marlin stars Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson and Mike Stanton.

Outspoken manager Ozzie Guillen will likely be a key character in the series, which is also expected to examine how the team deals with a name change (from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins), the construction of a new stadium and the unveiling of dramatically new uniforms.


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-- Greg Braxton

Photo: Miami Marlins star Jose Reyes gets famed dreadlocks cut during an event for charity on Feb. 3. Credit: George Napolitano / Associated Press

Showtime renews 'Shameless,' 'House of Lies,' 'Californication'

Showtime renews "Shameless," "House of Lies" and "Californication"

Showtime has picked up "Shameless, 'House of Lies" and "Californication" for new seasons, the network announced Wednesday.

"Californication" will return for a sixth season, "Shameless" for a third and "House of Lies" for a second. Production on the shows will begin later this year in Los Angeles.

"Shameless," an hourlong dramedy from John Wells, has watched its ratings grow in its sophomore season. It recently exceeded the viewership of the series debut of HBO's "Luck" -- with 1.4 million viewers to "Luck's" 1.1 million viewers. "House of Lies," which airs after "Shameless" on Sundays and stars Don Cheadle, had a strong premiere by the cable network's standards, with more than 1 million viewers, and has built on that as the season has progressed.

Veteran "Californication" is averaging 3 million viewers across all platforms (On Demand, replays and DVR), according to the network.  


Golden Globes: Claire Danes won't quit her day job

The day Larry David quit his job and other comic tales

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher in "Shameless." Credit: Showtime

The day Larry David quit his job and other comic tales


Before Larry David was Larry David, the man now thought of as one of the funniest people alive was working for a comedy show that didn’t find him particularly funny. It was the mid-1980s, he was a writer on “Saturday Night Live,” and his sketches were not getting on the air.

After discovering that yet another bit would not be making the cut -- hard as this may be to believe -- the creator and star of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" became enraged. He marched up to the big boss, then Dick Ebersol, who had co-created and developed the show, and lived the dream that truly unites workers around the world: He quit.

Minutes later, walking home on the freezing streets of New York City, David quickly realized the dream of quitting was much better than the reality. There were bills to pay.

So, he set out to convince his now ex-bosses that they were still his bosses -- that it was all a dream -- by showing up to work the next day. It worked.

“I thought it was worth a shot,” said David in his Santa Monica office, recounting the tale that inspired a future “Seinfeld” episode. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Read more about what else Larry David had to say about comedy with his longtime friend David Steinberg, whose new 10-part series on Showtime "Inside Comedy" begins Thursday.


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-- Martin Miller

Photo: Larry David and David Steinberg. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Golden Globes: Claire Danes won't quit her day job

Claire danes
Claire Danes said she belongs on Showtime's critically acclaimed series "Homeland," not actually on the homeland security team.

“We should all be very grateful that I'm not in charge of homeland security,” said Danes backstage after accepting the award for best actress in a TV drama for her role as a CIA agent. “We would not be very secure.”

The Showtime series has been among the premium network's most celebrated new series and centers on Danes' brilliant but troubled government agent as she pursues a returning POW (Damian Lewis) she suspects of being a terrorist. She admitted to being deeply affected by the part.

"As an American, when I started learning about the CIA and the people within that world, I was really struck by their patriotism," said Danes. "It’s something I’ve taken for granted. I have learned through this story that it is something to take more seriously.”

Danes researched the role in a variety of ways -- reading books, interviewing psychologists and even watching YouTube videos. (In addition to her job as a government agent, her character also has bipolar disorder.)

YouTube "is a really valuable resource,” she said. “There’s a lot of material. Bipolar people who are up in the middle of the night … they talk to their camera, and they post it. I think I did more of that. I just gorged on their videos.”


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-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Claire Danes in "Homeland." Credit: Kent Smith / Showtime 


Golden Globes: 'Homeland' wins for TV drama series

Golden Globes: 'Homeland' wins for TV drama series

“Homeland” won the Golden Globe award for best television series — drama. It beat out “Game of Thrones,” “Boss,” “American Horror Story” and “Boardwalk Empire” for the award.

The series finished its first season on Showtime in December. Based on an Israeli drama, “Homeland” features Claire Danes as a CIA agent convinced that an American Marine (played by Damian Lewis) returning after years as a POW in Iraq is a terrorist. It was produced by Showtime Presents, Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet and Fox 21. This is the series’ first Golden Globe nomination and win.

The Golden Globes are being held at the Beverly Hilton and are being televised on NBC. We'll carry all the breaking TV news and reaction here on Show Tracker.


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-- Joy Press

Photo: Claire Danes arrives at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards Credit: Matt Sayles / AP


'Homeland' exec says writers can wriggle 'out of a box'


[Note: There are some spoilers in this post about the recently concluded season of Showtime’s “Homeland.” Please skip if you’re really behind on your DVR viewing.]

The December finale of “Homeland’ didn’t polarize viewers the way, say the season's final episode of “The Killing” did. But some fans of the series — created by “24” veterans Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon as well as Gideon Raff, who conceived of the Israeli original — were divided about the way the first season ended.

Claire Danes’ Carrie was far from vindicated — in fact, she seemed to be going down a new path of memory loss. Damian Lewis’ Brody seemed to be positioned for an improbable spot in political office. And we still have no idea who might be the bad seed at the CIA.

David Nevins, the Showtime entertainment chief who put the show on the air, acknowledges how fans might feel a little squeezed by the new direction. But he said the show’s creators would find a way out when the series returned. “Alex and Howard are very good at writing themselves into a box, but they’re also very good at writing themselves out of a box,” he said in a recent interview with Show Tracker.

Nevins said that a finale for a serial mystery like “Homeland” meant walking a fine line between revelations and reticence: “We don't believe in closure, but we do believe in rewarding people for their time.”

At Showtime’s Television Critics Assn. panel on Thursday, Nevins continued the frank talk, saying fans were “justified” in feeling skepticism about whether the second season, which is likely to return later this year, could continue building the mystery without gving fans the sense they were being thrown red herrings. But he said that new revelations would keep the story moving forward.

One of the biggest questions is whether the wider intelligence community will know about Brody’s terrorist connections. To reveal that would be to rob the show of its woman-versus-the-world drama, but continued milking of that idea could get old.

Nevins did suggest at the event that the (romantic?) relationship between the two main characters would continue. “Brody and Carrie have only just begun,” he told reporters.

In other Showtime news, Nevins revealed at TCA that “Nurse Jackie,” “The Big C” and “The Borgias” will all return on Sunday, April 8. He also disclosed the network was producing a documentary about former Vice President Dick Cheney from independent filmmaker R.J. Cutler (who did the Anna Wintour doc “The September Issue”).

And Nevins told TCA that it's "a real possibility" that last summer's season of "Weeds" could be its last. Meanwhile, he said that “Dexter,” which in December ended its sixth season, could go beyond the planned eighth season. Maybe. "This is the likely endpoint, but I'm leaving open the possibility that plans could change," he told reporters.


Homeland sets new series record for Showtime

Showtime renews Homeland for second season

Homeland creators discuss Golden Globes nominations

— Steven Zeitchik

Photo: A scene from the first season of "Homeland" Credit: Kent Smith/Showtime.

What to watch this winter: A guide to midseason TV

Smash megan hilty katherine mcphee

A new year ushers in the premiere of many new TV series, not to mention the return of many old favorites.

To help you keep track, our Midseason TV Preview offers a guide to new shows by critic Robert Lloyd, a catch-up session reminding us where we left off with a few beloved shows returning this winter, a look at new reality TV series and Mary McNamara's essay on the changing nature of the TV narrative.

One of the most anticipated shows of the season is NBC's "Smash," from Steven Spielberg and veteran playwright/TV writer Theresa Rebeck, chronicling the backstage drama behind a fictional Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe. "In a lot of ways, it doesn't matter that this is the theater world," Rebeck said. "The way I think of the show is as "The West Wing" — an adult workplace drama, only they're not in the White House."

What if a bunch of supposedly dead Alcatraz prisoners returned to wreak havoc in modern-day San Francisco? The premise was immensely tempting to "Lost" co-creator J.J. Abrams. He says of his new Fox series "Alcatraz": "As soon as I was pitched the idea, I was desperate to make it happen. How could there have never been a show called 'Alcatraz'?"

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