A&E Orders Carlton Cuse’s THE RETURNED Remake to Series; Starz Orders Two Seasons of Jonathan Ames/Patrick Stewart Comedy BLUNT TALK

     April 29, 2014


A pair of interesting new cable shows have been ordered to series.  Firstly, A&E has given a straight-to-series 10-episode order for an American remake of the buzzy French series The ReturnedDeadline reports that Carlton Cuse (Lost) wrote the first episode and will write and produce the series alongside Raelle Tucker (True Blood).  The original show debuted in 2012 in France and has since become a crossover hit, earning strong ratings and high buzz (particularly from our TV expert Allison Keene).  The story revolves around the reappearance of a number of dead people in a sleepy town, and you can watch the original for yourself right now on Netflix.

This continues Cuse’s relationship with A&E, as his Bates Motel was recently picked up for a third season.  Cuse acts as showrunner on the Psycho prequel series as well as FX’s upcoming The Strain, and it’s unknown if he’ll also run The Returned or if he’ll hand off day-to-day duties while maintaining his role as an executive producer.  Hit the jump for news on Bored to Death creator Jonathan Ames’ new Starz series.

patrick-stewart-blunt-talkAdditionally, Starz has ordered two seasons of the new half-hour scripted comedy series Blunt Talk, which will see Patrick Stewart playing a British import intent on conquering the world of American cable news via his nightly interview show.  Bored to Death creator Jonathan Ames created and will write Blunt Talk, with Seth MacFarlane also serving as executive producer.  The greenlight is for two seasons consisting of 20 episodes total, with a debut planned for 2015.

Read the full press release below, which includes the synopsis in bold:

Beverly Hills, Calif. – APRIL 29, 2014– STARZ today announced a two-season, 20-episode greenlight of “Blunt Talk,” a half-hour scripted comedy series from Media Rights Capital (MRC).  The project, from Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy,” Ted, A Million Ways to Die in the West) and Jonathan Ames (“Bored to Death”), was picked up straight-to-series with 20 episodes over two seasons, set to air in 2015.

MacFarlane and Fuzzy Door Productions, Inc. serve as executive producer.  Ames, who originated the idea for the series, will also serve as executive producer and as writer and showrunner. Patrick Stewart (X-Men franchise, Ted) will play the lead role of Walter Blunt and also serves as a producer.  Patrick Stewart next returns to the big screen reprising his role as ‘Professor Charles Xavier’ in X-Men: Days of Future Past, out May 23, and stars in the independent comedy-drama, “Match,” which just premiered to rave reviews at the Tribeca Film Festival.

“Blunt Talk” is a character-driven comedy revolving around Walter Blunt (Patrick Stewart), a British import intent on conquering the world of American cable news.  Through the platform of his nightly interview show, Blunt is on a mission to impart his wisdom and guidance on how Americans should live, think and behave.  Besieged by network bosses, a dysfunctional news staff, numerous ex-wives and children of all ages, Blunt’s only support is the alcoholic manservant he transplanted from the U.K. to Page 1 of 1join him in Los Angeles.   The series follows the fallout from Blunt’s well-intentioned, but mostly misguided decision-making, both on and off the air.  

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht says, “In the character of Walter Blunt, Seth, Jonathan and Patrick have found the alchemy that makes a borderline alcoholic, mad-genius-Brit the man you want fighting in America’s corner.  Seth and Jonathan have struck the right balance between biting wit and outright absurdity in building this world, and we cannot wait for Patrick to breathe life into Walter.”

“We have wanted to work with Chris Albrecht for years.  His instinct for character-driven series is unparalleled and he is not afraid to push the boundaries,” said Modi Wiczyk, co-CEO of MRC.  “We are lucky to have Seth, Jonathan and Patrick teaming up for this series and couldn’t be prouder to be supporting them.”

“I’m beyond thrilled to be working with Jonathan Ames and Sir Patrick Stewart,” says Seth Macfarlane.  “Jonathan’s creative talent is formidable, and his writing style is wholly original, hilarious, and provocative.  And of course, Patrick Stewart is one of the greatest actors alive today.  His skill and versatility are unmatched, and he will excel as the star of his own show.  Thank you Starz for allowing us to bring Walter Blunt to life!”

Jonathan Ames notes “It’s been a delight to collaborate on ‘Blunt Talk’ with two such talented and strange men as Seth MacFarlane and Patrick Stewart.  The only problem is that sometimes on conference calls Seth will uncannily recreate Patrick’s voice, and I’m not sure who’s talking, but other than that it’s been smooth sailing.  I’m beyond pleased to have the opportunity to work with MRC, Chris Albrecht and Starz.”

Patrick Stewart says, “My career took an abrupt and radical left turn when Seth McFarlane created CIA Deputy Director Avery Bullock on American Dad. This new character, Walter Blunt, is not at all like Avery, thank God, because this is live action and I am a Knight of the Realm.  Blunt is, however, much smarter than Avery and has his own TV show, which has to be better than being Deputy Director of the CIA.”

Starz will retain all domestic multiplatform rights including television, home entertainment and digital.

MRC, the studio behind MacFarlane’s directorial debut Ted, which is the highest grossing original comedy of all time worldwide, and the award-winning series “House of Cards,” is best known as one of the most artist friendly independent studios.  “Blunt Talk” continues MRC’s partnership with MacFarlane, dating back to the 2008 YouTube original series “Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy,” the upcoming summer release and MacFarlane’s acting debut, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and the highly anticipated sequel, Ted 2.  MacFarlane is represented by WME and Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein, Ames is represented by WME and Stephanie Davis of Wetdog Entertainment, Stewart is represented by Danie Streisand at UTA.