HBO's Lineup on Life Support

As current hit series have one foot out the door, HBO places bets on the next generation, leaning on new shows from the creators of Six Feet Under, Deadwood.

The Sopranos has been delayed on account of bad knees, Larry David might be feeling too cranky for Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the creator of Deadwood is going surfing. With Sex in the City and Six Feet Under already gone, the remaining cornerstones of HBO’s critically acclaimed lineup are all winding down. In speaking to a crowd of reporters at the Television Critics press tour in Pasadena last week, HBO chairman Chris Albrecht laid out the status of it’s current and future lineup.

The Sopranos – Production on the show has been delayed due to James Gandolfini’s recovery after knee surgery, repairing an injury he’s been dealing with since playing football at Rutgers. The final eight episodes of what will be The Sopranos last season will not be broadcast until March, a few months behind schedule.

Curb Your Enthusiasm – Larry David’s been feeling uninspired about continuing on with the series, and HBO has been tight lipped about it’s future since the season 5 finale last December. But Albrect said that the two sides are “pretty close” and Curb will probably be back for 2007. When asked whether this will be the final season, the short and sweet answer was “Odds are probably yes, but who knows?”

Deadwood – Creator David Milch is cutting the strings on the show after this season to continue development on his new project John From Cincinnati (more details below). Milch and HBO are said to have plans to shoot two 2-hour movies in lieu of a fourth season, but Deadwood fans, already infuriated by the abrupt halt to the series, are skeptical, and no cast members have been secured as of yet.

The Wire and Rome are also slated to come back, though plans for Wire are uncertain after it’s next season, and Rome will be wrapping up after it’s second season, in part due to it’s massive production costs.So what’s to become of HBO’s lineup after it’s proven commodities come to a close? Besides more recent shows which are slowly accumulating critical approval and a growing fan base, like the Hollywood comedy/male fantasy Entourage and polygamist dramedy/male fantasy Big Love, (as well as raunchy sitcom Luckie Louie) HBO will be putting it’s money on some creators who have come through for them in the past.

True Blood – For the past year, Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball has been hard at work on an adaptation of works by novelist Charlaine Harris. Set in Louisiana, True Blood is focused on modern day vampires and described by Ball as “contemporary rural America, white trashy, very funny and really scary.” As far as any similarities to his previous works, Ball says “Six Feet Under was about dead people . . . American Beauty, the guy died at the end,’” he admits. “But I find it incredibly different. It’s more popcorn TV than Six Feet Under. It’s very raucous, more entertaining, much, much funnier. I’m done peering into the abyss for a while.”

John From Cincinnati
– David Milch’s next project, post-Deadwood, is described as “surf noir” and was written by Milch with the collaboration of author Kem Nunn. In a June Variety.com article, Milch describes John from Cincinnati as “about surfing and the tragic, incoherent world at the border of Mexico and the United States….It’s where the water’s polluted, and nobody has documents. Drugs are being brought in by the ton, and people are found dead in the estuaries — and that’s just the beginning.” Surprisingly, Milch, who is notorious for pushing deadlines with scripts, has several irons in the fire (it’s unclear from the Variety piece whether these shows are in development for HBO, or another network). Besides John, he is also developing Six Guys Named Gonzalez, about Puerto Rican culture in New York, another about the founding of the John Hopkins Medical School in the late 1800’s, a series about horse racing, and finally a police drama with a former NYPD Blue collaborator.

sexLIFE – A drama about three couples with intimacy issues that share the same sex therapist. The show is expected to be heavy on the mature themes, with full frontal nudity and explicit sex. Producer Gavin Palone, who also brought Curb Your Enthusiasm to HBO, said of the adult content on sexLIFE, “it’s supposed to feel as real as possible” and will “push past whatever’s on the air now.”

Both True Blood and John will likely debut by late 2007, and sexLIFE will likely start along with the new season of Big Love next summer. It’s HBO’s hope that the next generation will eventually equal the ratings and high marks from critics as their old hitmakers. Although Tony Soprano and Al Swearengen will be long gone by the time the results are tallied.

Resources: HBO Live Blog – Tim Goodman. The Bastard Machine, TCA: HBO ‘Hopeful’ on New ‘Curb’ Episodes – Channel Island, Yes, There can be life after death – (Alan Ball/True Blood) Times Online, Surf’s up at cabler, with ‘Gonzalez,’ cops on deck – Variety.com, Palone takes the pilot seat – Variety.com

Tags: , , , ,

Posted by Ted Zee on July 17th 2006 | Home Page | 5 Comments Subscribe to this site's feed

5 Responses

  1. JUNE ALEXANDER Says:

    I GIVE UP. IT SEEMS THAT NO NETWORK CARES ABOUT THEIR VIEWERS ENOUGH TO WRAP UP ANY SERIES THEY CARE TO CANCEL, AFTER NEARLY BEGGING YOU TO BECOME A VIEWER, THEY THEN DROP SHOWS, USUALLY WITH-OUT ANY FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT, AT LEAST NONE THAT I EVER SEE, NO STORY ENDING, ZIP – NADA. WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO GO BACK TO READING!!!!!!!!
    ROME WAS A GOOD SHOW, BUT NO YOU HAVE TO KEEP PRICELESS GEMS LIKE DEADWOOD ON INSTEAD.

  2. tammy peverill Says:

    i love lucky louie dont cancel it!!!!

  3. Linda Has Says:

    When will big love be on this fall

  4. rosie Says:

    I am excited about the new show True Blood!! i am a fan of the charlaine harris books and since reading my first i always wanted someone to make this story into a movie, but a TV show!! That is great! im sure this show will have really high ratins!! Is there any exact date on which the show will air? It would be great if someone could get back to me on that!! ^_^

  5. HBO at TCA: the Future of Curb, Deadwood, Big Love, Extas » bigscreenlittlescreen.net Says:

    […] – Nothing has changed since a year ago, when all that Deadwood watchers had left to pine for was two, 2-hour endcappers to wrap up the […]

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.