HBO orders 'Boardwalk Empire'

2:10 PM PST 09/01/2009 by Nellie Andreeva, AP

Martin Scorsese directed the period drama's pilot

HBO is building a "Boardwalk Empire" with a series order for the Martin Scorsese-directed pilot.

The premium cable network has picked up 11 episodes of the period drama, bringing the total order to 12 hours, including the pilot.

Production on the series is slated to begin this fall for a 2010 premiere.

Written by Terence Winter, "Empire" is set in 1920 at the dawn of Prohibition and chronicles the life and times of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), the undisputed ruler of Atlantic City, who was equal parts politician and gangster.

Scorsese and Winter are executive producing the series with Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Tim Van Patten.

Scorsese is expected to continue to be creatively involved and may direct another episode of "Empire," subject to his availability.

In addition to Buscemi, the cast of the pilot also included Michael Pitt, Kelly MacDonald, Michael Shannon, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza, Aleksa Palladino, Paul Sparks, Shea Whigham, Anthony Laciura, Michael Kenneth Williams, Dabney Coleman, Michael Stuhlbarg and Paz de la Huerta.

HBO has been beefing up its slate of original series over the past nine months with orders to new comedies "Hung," "Bored to Death" and "How to Make It in America" and drama "Treme."
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