Showtime narrows series contenders

Tim Robbins, Jenji Kohan pilots still alive at network

Showtime appears close to making its new series picks after narrowing the field of hopefuls to two.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the network informed the producers of two pilots -- the "L-Word" spinoff starring Leisha Hailey and the Matthew Perry/Peter Tolan comedy "The End of Steve" -- that they would not continue. Sony TV, which produces the Perry-starring "Steve" is expected to shop the project to other cable nets.

Remaining in contention for a series pickup at Showtime are Tim Robbins' drama pilot "Possible Side Effects" and the comedy pilot "Ronna and Beverly" from Jessica Chaffin, Jamie Denbo and Jenji Kohan.

Showtime doesn't have strong needs. The new comedy "Nurse Jackie" is about to premiere, the comedy "United States of Tara" was recently renewed and the comedies "Weeds" and "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" have been picked up for two more cycles each. Also returning with new seasons this year are "The Tudors," "Californication," "Dexter" and "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union."