In its bid for continued boldness, Showtime is picking up both of its pilots, Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex.
“We want to get bigger and stay on the cutting edge, and both of these shows have real depth of cast and have really great writing,” Showtime president of entertainment David Nevins told The Hollywood Reporter of a decision he says was unanimous. “They are big, exciting and really original shows.”
Both projects have received 12-episode orders and will film in Los Angeles. They are set to bow in 2013 and will be paired with other Showtime originals.
Donovan stars Liev Schreiber in his first regular series role. The family drama centers on Ray (Schreiber) as L.A.’s best professional fixer — the man called in to solve complicated, controversial and confidential problems of the city’s elite. The only problems he’s unable to make disappear are those involving his own damaged South Boston family.
The series, a Showtime production created and executive produced by Southland’s Ann Biderman, is filled out by cast members Jon Voight, Elliott Gould, Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok and Paula Malcomson. Nurse Jackie’s Allen Coulter directed the pilot, and will serve as a producer alongside The Mark Gordon Co.’s EPs Mark Gordon and Bryan Zuriff.
Masters features Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as the real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality, William Masters and Virginia Johnson. The series will chronicle their unusual lives, romance and pop culture trajectory, which saw them go from a Midwestern teaching hospital to the cover of Time magazine and Johnny Carson’s couch. Masters, which also stars Caitlin Fitzgerald, Nicholas D’Agosto and Teddy Sears, is an adaptation of Thomas Maier’s book, Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, The Couple Who Taught America How to Love.
Academy Award nominee John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) helmed the pilot, which included performances by Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale, and will serve as an executive producer alongside creator and EP Michelle Ashford (The Pacific). The Sony-produced series also will count Timberman Beverly Productions’ Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman as well as Michael Sheen, Tammy Rosen and Judith Verno as EPs.
“I want shows to feel very clear about what’s great about them and what’s entertaining about them,” adds Nevins. “And I think both of these shows will be perceived as highly entertaining.”
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose