Showtime nabs thriller from '24' producers

'Homeland' is first major project acquired under David Nevins

Showtime entertainment president David Nevins has chosen a thriller from the producers of "24" as his first major project acquisition.

Nevins is near a pilot-order deal for "Homeland," a drama series from Fox 21 based on the Israeli format "Prisoners of War." The domestic version centers on the discovery of a U.S. solider who was presumed killed in Iraq 10 years ago. The solider returns home, but questions arise whether he was truly wartime POW or secretly a member of a sleeper cell sent to cause the next terrorist attack.

Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa ("24") will executive produce the project.

Coming off the byzantine-plotted "24," Gordon said the more limited length of a Showtime season will be ideal for "Homeland."

"This feels like the exact right canvas for this story; a full broadcast season would be overladen," Gordon said. " '24' felt like it was sometimes hamstrung by the conceit. When you're talking about fairly deep conspiracies, you need a novelistic kind of length that cable allows to feel appropriately hefty. If you have a terrorist strike every week, it feels monotonous and silly."

Showtime expects to bring back all of its summer series, with "United States of Tara" and "Nurse Jackie" set to return in the spring and "Weeds" and new comedy "The Big C" looking likely to return as well. Sources said Nevins is expected to pick up another couple of projects by year's end.

The premium-cable network already is rolling out several new series next year, including Jeremy Irons period drama "The Borgias," William H. Macy's family dramedy "Shameless" and the Matt LeBlanc comedy "Episodes." At least one of Nevins' projects is expected to join the lineup by the end of next year.

"Homeland" is the first project selected by Nevins, who took Showtime's programming reins after Robert Greenblatt left the company a few months ago. The move also represents one of the first major sales by Fox 21 president Bert Salke. Other executive producers on this show include Gideon Raff, Avi Nir and Ron Telem.

As for the potential of a "24" movie, Gordon said, "There is no update except that it's not dead."