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The premium cable network announced Monday that the show will begin production on its final seven episodes next week, with co-creator Jeffrey Klarik directing all of them as the series will wrap its run in 2017.
“We have had the best time making this show,” said co-creators and writing partners David Crane and Klarik. “Showtime has been the opposite of every network we write about. If it were up to them we could go on making Episodes forever. But we’ve told the story we set out to tell and we’d never want to outstay our welcome.”
Added Showtime programming president Gary Levine: “Episodes’ scathing portrait of network executives has kept me on my best behavior these last several years, for which I am grudgingly grateful to Jeffrey and David. I love this show and can’t wait to see what comic heights Matt and company will scale during the fifth and final season of our inspired series.”
That Episodes would end with season five comes as little surprise. Levine told reporters in January at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour that there was a “real possibility” season five would be the end of the road. “”They are hard at work on the fifth season and we will wait to see if white smoke or black smoke comes out of the chimney to see how that will work,” he said at the time. “It’s a show we love. Because it’s so painstakingly handcrafted, it takes a rather long time between seasons. We’re waiting patiently for that.”
For his part, Friends alum LeBlanc — who reunited with Klarik and Crane on Episodes — has already booked his follow-up gig. He’ll return to broadcast television with the leading role in the currently untitled CBS family comedy previously known as I’m Not Your Friend. LeBlanc has one of the more unique deals this pilot season, scoring a hefty series commitment penalty. That means that if CBS passes on picking up the comedy from That ‘70s Show duo Jeff and Jackie Filgo, he would be paid as if it had gone to series. LeBlanc will star as a contractor whose wife goes back to work and leaves him to care for their kids. He also will exec produce the CBS Television Studios comedy, which is being directed by James Burrows, who also helmed the Friends pilot.
Since its debut in 2011, Episodes has been nominated for 10 Emmys, including lead actor for LeBlanc and writing for Crane and Klarik. LeBlanc won a Golden Globe for the role. Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig, Mircea Monroe, Kathleen Rose Perkins and John Pankow round out the cast.
The comedy, one of the first to be developed at Showtime under David Nevins, comes as the cabler is poised to launch Cameron Crowe’s Roadies, comedy Dice and Jim Carrey’s I’m Dying Up Here. The pay channel’s roster also includes staples Homeland, The Affair, House of Lies, Masters of Sex, Penny Dreadful, Ray Donovan and Shameless, as well as rookie Billions, which has been renewed for a second season.
A specific premiere date for Episodes‘ return in 2017 has not yet been determined.
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