In news that further proves pay cable gets all the best movie stars, THR reports that Showtime has ordered 12 episodes of Shameless, an hourlong drama headlined by the indelible William H. Macy. The series co-stars Emmy Rossum, whom I best remember as the lead in the 2004 Phantom of the Opera update: please let me know if I should update my cognitive database six years after the fact. Promisingly, creator John Wells (ER) has alotted a recurring role for his former West Wing co-worker Allison Janney, who had a guest spot in the pilot.
The show is an adaptation of a British dramedy of the same name that revolves around the antics of a large single-parent family headed by an alcoholic (Macy). More after the break:
I’ll turn to the THR piece for a richer plot synopsis:
Based on the long-running British series by top U.K. TV writer Paul Abbott, “Shameless,” from Warner Bros. TV and John Wells Prods., revolves around the Gallaghers, a working-class Chicago clan dealing with the recession. The mother is AWOL, and the alcoholic patriarch (Macy) usually ends up passed out on the living-room floor, so their smart but unpredictable 18-year-old daughter, Fiona (Rossum), is tasked with keeping her five younger brothers and sisters on the straight and narrow.
With one win and four nominations for Best Drama Series at the BAFTAs (the UK equivalent of the Emmys), the original has long been on my “to watch” list; hopefully I’ll get on that before the American adaptation premieres. Because with Macy and Janney attached to a weekly series, I am on very much on board. The work of Paul Abbott has been rather en vogue for flattery via mimicry recently, as he scripted the British miniseries on which political thriller State of Play was based, and now Wells–one of Hollywood’s top television producers–sees potential in Abbott’s Shameless for an audience on this side of the Atlantic.
After longtime television staple ER ended, Wells felt a bit burned by the networks after NBC renewed his Southland for a second season, then promptly cancelled it before the season premiere even had a chance to air. The cop show found a home on TNT, and Wells admired the “high-end” entertainment options that cable routinely offers. While low ratings ensure that Southland probably isn’t long for this world, Wells should find it very cozy at Showtime.
In the meantime, you can look forward to Wells’ feature directorial debut and Sundance favorite The Company Man; check out Steve’s video review here.