11:13am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Starz Orders Two Seasons of Seth MacFarlane Comedy 'Blunt Talk'
Starz is getting serious about comedy.
The premium cable network has greenlighted two seasons of original live-action scripted comedy Blunt Talk, from producers Seth MacFarlane and Bored to Death's Jonathan Ames.
The 20-episode pickup will be divided between two seasons of 10 each and air in 2015. X-Men's Patrick Stewart will star in and also produce the series. Ames, who conceived the idea, will executive produce, write and serve as showrunner on the series, which hails from Media Rights Capital.
Blunt Talk is a character-driven comedy revolving around Walter Blunt (Stewart), a British transplant intent on conquering the world of American cable news. Through the platform of his nightly interview show, Blunt is on a mission to impart his wisdom and guidance on how Americans should live, think and behave. Besieged by network bosses, a dysfunctional news staff, numerous ex-wives and children of all ages, Blunt’s only supporter is the alcoholic manservant he brought with him from the U.K. to join him in Los Angeles. The series follows the fallout from Blunt’s well-intentioned, but mostly misguided decision-making, both on and off the air.
"In the character of Walter Blunt, Seth, Jonathan and Patrick have found the alchemy that makes a borderline alcoholic, mad-genius-Brit the man you want fighting in America’s corner. Seth and Jonathan have struck the right balance between biting wit and outright absurdity in building this world, and we cannot wait for Patrick to breathe life into Walter," Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement announcing the news Tuesday.
MacFarlane will produce via his Fuzzy Door Productions, with Starz retaining all domestic and multiplatform rights including TV, home entertainment and digital.
Blunt Talk reunites MacFarlane with the studio behind the prolific writer-producer's big-screen directorial debut Ted. The film ranks as the highest-grossing original comedy of all time worldwide. MRC and MacFarlane previously teamed for his 2008 original YouTube series Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy. They next team for MacFarlane's acting debut, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and the Ted sequel.
The pickup will give MacFarlane at least four shows on the air in 2015: TBS' American Dad, Fox's Family Guy and freshman Bordertown, with Blunt Talk the only live-action comedy among them. (The future of Fox's MacFarlane-produced Cosmos and Fox live-action comedy Dads also remain to be seen.)
For MRC, Blunt Talk marks the studio's latest TV entry, joining Netflix's award-winning House of Cards.
The comedy expands Stewart's relationship with MacFarlane. The Star Trek: The Next Generation alum has voiced Avery Bullock on Fox's American Dad for more than 60 episodes, in addition to voicing multiple roles on Family Guy and appearing in Cosmos and narrating Ted.
For Starz, the pickup marks a large investment -- the cabler typically renews series for second seasons ahead of their debuts. The show also comes as the network is prepping to launch its first original scripted comedy with LeBron James basketball comedy Survivor's Remorse, which is due in the fall.
MacFarlane is repped by WME and Jackoway Tyerman; Ames is with WME and Wetdog Entertainment; Stewart is with UTA.