February 12, 2013 8:03am PT by Lacey Rose
'Homeland' Adds First New Writer For Season 3 (Exclusive)
Homeland has lined up its first new addition to the writers room with James Yoshimura.
The Treme writer/executive producer is said to be moving from Chicago to Los Angeles to fill one of what is expected to be three open spots as Showtime's acclaimed terrorism drama gears up for a third season. In addition to writing, he will serve as a consulting producer on the Fox 21-produced entry, starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. The move marks a reunion for Yoshimura and Homeland writer/EP Henry Bromell, who worked together on NBC’s long-running Homicide: Life on the Street.
Showrunner Alex Gansa has been vocal about both the need for and the challenge of finding new additions for a writing staff that has been dubbed a "murderer’s row" due to its pedigree as well as its intelligence. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in mid-December, Gansa noted that he would be spending his holidays poring over writing samples in a bid to find "the right person to fit into the group and who also can bring something to the show." That the tight-knit writers room had remained intact for two seasons was itself a surprise given the breakout success of the Israeli adaptation, which swept the major categories at September's Emmys.
UTA-repped Yoshimura, who got his start in the theater world before segueing into television, brings with him an impressive resume, which includes such dramas as Tom Fontana’s Borgia and The Jury, along with HBO’s acclaimed Treme and Homicide. One of the episodes that he wrote in the latter’s sixth season earned a Peabody award for excellence, along with an Emmy nomination for outstanding writing. Additionally, Yoshimura co-wrote the Emmy-nominated made-for-TV movie Homicide: The Movie after the series wrapped. He will join the Showtime series at a pivotal point in its run, as the beloved drama faced heavy media criticism for a string of questionable plot-points and a 24-like pace in the latter half of its second season. The staff has been back in the room for several weeks now kicking around ideas for how the series’ third season could arc out.
The hire comes as Meredith Stiehm’s FX pilot, The Bridge, is a shoo-in for a series order, making her the first of Homeland’s original six writers to land another series. Several sources close to Homeland note that Stiehm’s exit is a tough blow for the series in that she was the lone female voice in the writers room and brought with her real-world experience as she wrote about Carrie Mathison’s struggles with bipolar disorder. Gansa and his staff are said to be looking for at least one female voice to take one of the remaining slots.
Both co-creator Howard Gordon and writer/EP Alex Cary’s roles will likely diminish, too, as the duo turns its focus to CBS pilot Anatomy of Violence, a drama centered on a criminal psychologist with an expertise in sociopaths who partners with a young female detective with whom he shares a conflicted past. Gansa was actively involved in the Anatomy script, but is expected to play more of a hands-off executive producer role if the pilot were to go to series. For 20th Television-based Gordon, among the most in-demand writer/producers in Hollywood, Violence is one of many potential series in contention; others include TNT’s Sean Bean-fronted Legends and FX’s Tyrant.
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose