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Showtime president David Nevins used his platform at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour to renew dramedy Shameless for a sixth season and hand out a series order to redeveloped comedy Happyish.
Emmy Rossum starrer Shameless, which returned Jan. 11, earned series highs in 2014 — averaging more than 5.7 million weekly viewers across multiple platforms. The John Wells dramedy from Warner Bros. Television also has finally received some awards love, with star William H. Macy earning Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations. Production on season six will resume later this year for a 12-episode run in 2015.
Happyish, meanwhile, was originally ordered to series with Philip Seymour Hoffman. The premium cable network re-piloted the series, tapping Steve Coogan to replace the late actor in the dark examination of the pursuit of happiness.
The comedy, co-starring Kathryn Hahn and Bradley Whitford, will be rushed onto the schedule, with Showtime announcing a a 9:30 p.m. April 26 premiere date, where it will be paired with the seventh and final season bow of Nurse Jackie.
Happyish was created, written and executive produced by This American Life‘s Shalom Auslander. Emmy nominee Ken Kwapis (He’s Just Not That Into You) executive produces and directed the pilot. Kwapis’ producing partner Alexandra Beattie co-executive produces via their In Cahoots banner.
“It feels like a next way to do a cable comedy; it’s absorbing and not too cool and real emotion,” Nevins told reporters. “It’s been frustrating that I haven’t launched more comedies. This show has been a particular area of focus.”
Coogan stars as a 44-year-old man whose world is thrown into disarray when his 25-year-old “wunderkind” boss arrives, saying things like “digital,” “social” and “viral.” Is he in need of a “rebranding,” or does he just have a “low joy ceiling?” Maybe pursuing happiness is a fool’s errand? Maybe, after 44 years on this ludicrous planet, settling for happyish is the best one can expect.
Happyish joins a roster of Showtime originals, including Golden Globe winner The Affair, Homeland, Masters of Sex, Penny Dreadful and Ray Donovan as well as comedies Shameless, House of Lies, Jackie and Web Therapy. Following his session, Nevins told reporters that he also expects “good news” for Episodes and House of Lies, which typically are renewed alongside Shameless. The latter earned the pickup after Showtime negotiated a new deal with WBTV, with all the series regulars having the option to return pending the events of season five.
On the pilot front, Showtime has drama Billions as well as comedies Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Cameron Crowe‘s Roadies.
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