Showtime to create 'L Word' spinoff

Network orders more 'Weeds,' 'Penn & Teller'

Showtime is working on a spinoff to its drama series "The L Word," which will have its final season bow early next year.

In addition, the network has ordered two more seasons of "Weeds" and a seventh season of "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" (making it the network's longest-running series) and has handed out series pickups to "Nurse Jackie," the dark comedy starring Edie Falco, and a gun-themed documentary series titled "Locked and Loaded." Showtime president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt made the announcements Friday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour at the Beverly Hilton.

Greenblatt said the "L Word" spinoff is in the early stages and didn't offer up a lot of details. He did say that "L Word" creator/executive producer Ilene Chaiken is creating the spinoff, which will shoot after "L Word" wraps production on its sixth and final season this year. It will star one of the actresses from the drama series, which will end its run with an open-ended story line that will continue online. Should the spinoff get a series pickup, the story line will continue in the as-yet-untitled project.

Greenblatt said the chosen actress does not yet know it will feature her. Pressed for more details, he said only: "We're still forming it. I'm sure I have a million e-mails already from loyal viewers about it, but we're still in the process of figuring it out."

Meanwhile, the network has ordered two additional 13-episode seasons of "Weeds" -- its fifth and sixth -- following on the heels of the comedy series' record-breaking fourth-season debut last month.

The network has ordered 10 additional episodes of "Penn & Teller."

As for the tentatively titled "Nurse Jackie," the network hopes to start production in the fall for a debut in spring or early summer. The series stars Falco as a strong-willed New York nurse juggling the frenzied grind of an urban hospital and an equally challenging personal life. Greenblatt said the show differs from other medical-themed series.

"It isn't the most high-concept idea, but I don't think you've ever seen a nurse quite like this," Greenblatt said. "It's not going to be case-driven, a big medical story of the week necessarily. It's a different take on a medical show that is grounded by a really iconoclastic character played by a great actress."

Meanwhile, "Locked" is a six-episode series that centers on a gun store in rural Colorado. Greenblatt called it a timely and provocative show.

"It's a fly-on-the-wall show, and you'll see many different kinds of people coming into this story and see the reasons why they buy handguns and rifles and other things," Greenblatt said.

Greenblatt also revealed that Showtime is in talks with Ira Glass for a third season of "This American Life" and has a deal for two more eight-episode seasons of the British import "Secret Diary of a Call Girl." Whether the network would order more beyond that would depend in part on whether star Billie Piper returned for a fourth season, Greenblatt said.
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