'Homeland' Is Hiring: Why the Hottest Show on Cable Is Seeking Help

Help Wanted Homeland Writers - H 2012

Help Wanted Homeland Writers - H 2012

At least one likely high-profile vacancy means showrunner Alex Gansa will spend the holidays reading writing samples.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 10, 2013 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The hottest show on cable is hiring. Over the holiday hiatus, Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa will be poring over scores of writing samples in search of new voices to fill at least one looming vacancy on the Emmy-winning Showtime drama.

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Near term, Gansa likely will need to replace the staff's only female writer, Meredith Stiehm, with whom he co-wrote the Dec. 16 season-two finale and whose detective drama, The Bridge, is said to be a shoo-in for a series order at FX. Of the six-member staff's writers, two others also have their own projects in contention elsewhere. Co-creator Howard Gordon is set to serve as showrunner of the FBI agent drama Anatomy of Violence if CBS orders it to series in May, and Alex Cary will run the legal drama Ritter in the event that NBC moves forward with a series order.

Fox 21 chief Bert Salke has described the Homeland writers room as a "murderers' row" of talent because each previously has run another show. That it has remained intact for two seasons is itself a surprise given the breakout success of the terrorism drama, which swept the major categories at September's Emmys.

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"The writing staff will be slightly -- or more than slightly -- changed next year," Gansa tells THR of the close-knit, highly pedigreed group that already has begun brainstorming ideas for season three before returning in earnest in January.

"We have to find the right person to fit into the group and who also can bring something to the show," he adds. "That's my priority over the holidays: to sit down and read a bunch of people and get a list of writers together."