HBO works with bikers, doctors


HBO, which is building a new staple of drama series following the departure of heavyweights "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under," has greenlighted two drama pilots: one from Oscar-nominated writer Michael Tolkin and one exec produced by Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis.

Additionally, the pay cable network has picked up its racy relationship drama "Tell Me You Love Me" for a second season.

Tolkin's "1%," which hails from Management 360's TV division, is set in the world of biker gangs.

A 1% tattoo has been considered a badge of honor for biker gang members symbolizing life on the fringe of American society. It refers to a statement put out 50 years ago by the American Motorcycle Assn. that said gangs don't represent the legitimate motorcycle community but the 1% who are a threat to the American way of life.

Tolkin penned "1%" and is exec producing the pilot with Management 360's Alex Hertzberg and Guymon Casady.

"Patient 2344," from "Man of the House" writer John J. McLaughlin, is set in the near future at a cutting-edge medical research institute.

McLaughlin penned the pilot and is executive producing it with Jack Rapke ("Monster House"), Emmy-winning producer Tony To ("Band of Brothers") and Zemeckis.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who serves as chair of the Department of Clinical Bioethics at the Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health, will serve as a consultant, along with Gail Cook.

Harvard-educated Emanuel, a leading expert in such fields as ethics of clinical research, health care reform and euthanasia, is brother of Endeavor partner Ari Emanuel.

"Love Me" has stirred controversy with its explicit depiction of sex scenes. It debuted Sept. 9 to underwhelming ratings, averaging only 910,000 total viewers, but the series about three couples in various stages of their relationship seeing the same couples therapist (Jane Alexander) has been building buzz and has developed a devoted following.

The pickup for "Love Me" follows HBO's recent decision not to renew another freshman drama series, David Milch's "John From Cincinnati."

"Love Me," whose ensemble cast also includes Ally Walker, Adam Scott, Sonya Walger and Sherry Stringfield, is exec produced by creator Cynthia Mort and Pariah's Gavin Polone.