Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Starz renews 'Boss' before bow

Starz has given a second season renewal to its Kelsey Grammer starrer "Boss," a month before its first season bows on the pay cabler. Series stars Kelsey Grammer as a powerful Chicago mayor who's hiding a deteriorating mental condition. Drama hails from Grammer's Grammnet Prods. and Lionsgate TV. Farhad Safinia ("Apocalypto") is creator and exec producer; Gus Van Sant helmed the pilot episode, marking his TV directorial debut, and also exec produces with Grammer, Lyn Greene, Richard Levine, Brian Sher and Stella Bulochnikov. "Boss" is set to bow Oct. 21 for an eight episode run. The second season order is 10 segs, with production targeted to start early next year. Series marks the most high-profile original scripted series to come from Starz since Chris Albrecht took over the pay cabler in January 2010. The early renewal is unusual though not unprecedented especially for pay cable. Grammer has been generating strong early buzz for his perf in the series, which likely encouraged Starz to make a statement with the early pickup. "The first time we read Farhad's script, we knew we had to make 'Boss,' " said Albrecht. "With each episode, the story grew richer, and the cast continued to turn in breakthrough performances. Led by Kelsey and Farhad, this creative team is giving us dramatic storytelling at its very best. For our viewers, we felt it important to start working on the next season as soon as possible." Lionsgate TV topper Kevin Beggs said it was "gratifying" to get such an "early vote of confidence" from Starz. Contact Cynthia Littleton at cynthia.littleton@variety.com

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