On the heels of the unprecedented critical acclaim for SHOWTIME's original series The Tudors and This American Life, the network is announcing that both series have been renewed for second seasons. Additionally, the network has also greenlighted five episodes of a new sketch comedy series from the incomparable Tracey Ullman, tentatively titled State of the Union. The announcement was made today by SHOWTIME President of Entertainment Robert Greenblatt.
With a 10-episode order and production slated to begin in Dublin, Ireland this spring, The Tudors took SHOWTIME subscribers and the media by storm when it premiered April 1st, generating record viewership. "We are thrilled with the success of our dramatic series, The Tudors, and we're happy to tell the next - even more compelling - chapter," says Greenblatt. "Writer/creator Michael Hirst has done a masterful job turning history into relevant and entertaining drama; this cast is incredibly talented; and the production value is feature-film quality. The cast, headed (or should I say be-headed) by the mesmerizing Jonathan Rhys Meyers, has been enthusiastically received by critics, audiences are becoming addicted and it's right on brand for SHOWTIME. Long live the king, albeit a trimmer, sexier incarnation than we've seen before." The Tudors is an Ireland-Canada co-production, executive produced by Morgan O'Sullivan; Benjamin Silverman and Teri Weinberg for Reveille Productions; Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan for Working Title Films, and Sheila Hockin; and is created, written and executive produced by Michael Hirst. SHOWTIME presents the series in association with Peace Arch Entertainment.
This American Life, the televised version of Ira Glass' acclaimed Chicago Public Radio series, will begin production on six episodes later this year for a 2008 premiere. "Ira Glass is a visionary and 'This American Life' is an American institution," says Greenblatt. "I'm very proud that SHOWTIME will remain the television home of this show and this unique storyteller."
Emmy Award-winning Tracey Ullman brings her signature brand of spot-on impersonation and comic timing to State of the Union, a new sketch comedy series that will begin production in the fall and takes a satirical look at a day in the life of America. Ullman will take on characters as diverse as working mothers, politicians and celebrities. The series will be produced by Stephanie Laing, and executive produced by Allan McKeown and Ullman. "I have always loved Tracey Ullman ever since I was a young development executive at Fox when she was doing the original The Tracey Ullman Show", says Greenblatt. "She is a one-of-a-kind comedienne and sketch comedy performer, a true artist. We are so proud to bring her to SHOWTIME in a completely new show that will again showcase what she does best, and in this case, she will be looking at the wide cross-section of Americans and both celebrating us and sending us up."