Showtime’s TCA presentation, like CBS before it, was marked by a lot of confidence in its status quo, with the network boasting that it had reached an all-time high of 20 million subscribers thanks in no small part to its 10 original scripted series, with more on the way. It also showed no indication of any of those established series ending anytime soon: “We hook people,” network president David Nevins said. “If they fall in love with something, they know it’s going to be back next season.” Well, except for United States Of Tara, but Nevins avowed that the show had “accomplished all it would accomplish,” which means it reached a natural end, even if those who fell in love with it didn’t see it that way. If you love something, set it free and all that.
In the meantime, the other shows that apparently have not accomplished what they set out to accomplish are all set to live on for years to come: January 8 will see the returns of Shameless (at 9 p.m. ET) and Californication at 10:30 p.m. Dexter’s September premiere will see the show, as previously reported, delving into the realm of religion in what’s described in our intrepid TCA reporter Todd VanDerWerff’s notes as “a Dan Brown-type thing?” with a notably dubious question mark. And of course, there’s the immortal Weeds, which Nevins believes still has “real life in it” (though he hasn’t officially renewed it yet), an optimism reinforced by where it reportedly ends up in this season’s finale. For example, maybe Nancy and family end up dealing drugs on the moon! You wouldn’t see that coming.
Anyway, along with saying that the second season of horny pope drama The Borgias would be “more violent and visceral” and also be about “how power corrupts,” which is different than the first season somehow, Showtime also had a few new things to discuss. For example, its Don Cheadle-and-Kristen Bell-starring dark comedy House Of Lies, also premiering January 8, about a nefarious management consulting firm, and all the nefarious management consulting they do. Nevins cited both it and the forthcoming Claire Danes-starring terrorism drama Homeland as examples of its edgy ensembles with “rich psychology,” and promised that Homeland would “freak some people out,” perhaps with the idea that Claire Danes is our last and best defense against terrorism.
He also revealed some details on a new, Steve Carell-produced documentary project Laughing Stock, in which David Steinberg will interview names from the last five decades of comedy (like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey, Larry David, Ellen DeGeneres, and Judd Apatow) about the art of comedy—which sounds a lot like HBO’s recent Talking Funny, but maybe don’t bring that up. Other previously rumored projects like an Oliver Stone documentary series and the recently announced adaptation of 100 Bullets are still in the development phase, but above all, Showtime remains confident that its current slate will “keep pushing the medium forward” by delivering “the best, most compelling shows on TV,” as opposed to everyone else who remains content with just doing the same things over and over or copying ideas that have been successful for other networks, which Showtime definitely is not doing.