Showtime Adds Azaria Drama


Showtime is adding a new hour-long drama, Huff, which stars Hank Azaria as a complicated psychologist with a challenging home life, the network said Friday during its presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles.

It is the first new drama to get the nod from Showtime’s new president of entertainment, Robert Greenblatt, who joined about six months ago. The show, also starring Oliver Platt and Blythe Danner, will premiere in late summer.

Showtime also announced a live Britney Spears concert special scheduled for March 28.

Greenblatt is a veteran programmer who most recently was co-head of Greenblatt Janollari Productions, producer of HBO’s Six Feet Under. He also had a run at Fox Broadcasting. Industry watchers expect him to revitalize Showtime’s original programming initiatives. To that end, Greenblatt said Friday he has cut back Showtime’s original movie production to about a half dozen per year "that said something."

In the series area, Showtime has found success in the past programming to niche audiences with shows like Queer as Folk and Soul Food. Greenblatt said he wants to make dramas that appeal to a broader audience.

The network is giving life to reality show American Candidate, produced by R.J. Cutler and originally intended for FX. Slated to start this summer, the show will feature 12 candidates simulating a run for president. Showtime won’t actually give them money to run a campaign, but the winner could conceivably try to get on the ballot.