Showtime picks up 'Shameless' to series

4:26 PM PST 04/07/2010 by Nellie Andreeva, AP

John Wells' drama stars Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy

Showtime is taking "Shameless" to the next level.

The cable network has picked up the John Wells drama pilot starring Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy to series with a 12-episode order.

Based on the long-running British series by top U.K. TV writer Paul Abbott, "Shameless," from Warner Bros. TV and John Wells Prods., revolves around the Gallaghers, a working-class Chicago clan dealing with the recession. The mother is AWOL, and the alcoholic patriarch (Macy) usually ends up passed out on the living-room floor, so their smart but unpredictable 18-year-old daughter, Fiona (Rossum), is tasked with keeping her five younger brothers and sisters on the straight and narrow.

Wells and Abbott penned the adaptation and are executive producing the series. Wells will serve as showrunner, while Abbott will remain creatively involved but will will focus on a couple of other projects too, including shepherding a new season of the original series in the U.K..

Allison Janney, who guest starred in the pilot, will continue on the series as recurring.

"It was a phenomenally good pilot," Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt said, noting that the network will probably take a break from ordering new pilots for the time being to focus on launching its four new series.

"Shameless" joins recently picked-up dark comedy series "The Big C," starring Laura Linney; Hollywood satire "Episodes," toplined by Matt LeBlanc; and period drama series "The Borgias" starring Jeremy Irons.

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