Shameless, Californication & House of Lies score comedic win for Showtime

While awards’ fans were kicking and screaming over Golden Globe award snafus, Showtime was silently staging a comedic ratings coup on cable.

The premium network scored high ratings in each series in its Sunday night comedy block. Shameless was up first at 9PM, capturing 2 million viewers – a 32% increase over Season 2, which averaged 1.36 million viewers.

While Don Cheadle was celebrating his win for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Comedy, House of Lies was raking in 1.19 million viewers during its first airing, a 43% increase over its frosh season.

Californication Season 6 grabbed 1.3 million viewers throughout the night, a 39% increase over season five’s nightly average and a 26% increase over the initial airing of the season 5 premiere.

Emmy Nominations – Who Got Served and Who Got Screwed Again

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The 2012 Emmy nominations have been announced and we’ve got all of the major categories listed as well as our initial, emotional reactions.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Boardwalk Empire
Mad Men
Game of Thrones

Reaction: What’s to debate here? All deserve it to some degree. Even in a down season, Downton Abbey is still phenomenal television, even if it’s not your cup of tea. My only gripe is that last year Abbey was considered a Miniseries and now they take the place of an equally deserving show. Nothing is budging Breaking Bad or Mad Men, and there’s no one else more thrilled to see Homeland and Game of Thrones included. Boardwalk Empire belongs too, but again, Sons of Anarchy will sadly never be in the Emmy conversation for whatever reason even though this past season wasn’t its most consistent. There were series that were going to be left on the outside looking in and SOA, The Good Wife, The Walking Dead and Justified were left out this year.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
Elizabeth Moss – Mad Men
Michelle Dockery – Downton Abbey
Kathy Bates – Harry’s Law
Claire Danes – Homeland
Glenn Close – Damages

Reaction: There is nothing but rage, absolute rage. Someone please take Bates out and place Sons of Anarchy‘s Katey Sagal! It’s absolute B.S. And where’s Sarah Michelle Gellar for playing dual roles in Ringer. I’m kidding about that last comment, people, I’m kidding.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn – Breaking Bad
Archie Panjabi – The Good Wife
Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt – Downton Abbey
Christina Hendricks – Mad Men
Christine Baranski – The Good Wife

Reaction: It’s a glorious day to see Anna Gunn break into the category and get some recognition for Skylar White. It’s well-deserved and been a long time coming. Downton Abbey was a bit too soapy for me this past season but I can see why Smith and Froggatt are nominated. The Good Wife is filled with great actresses up and down that cast so there was no doubt that Baranski and Panjabi were going to be nominated. No Joelle Carter this year, but if all goes right, next year could be her year knowing her potential storylines in Justified.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Joan Cusack – Shameless
Uma Thurman – Smash
Julia Ormond – Mad Men
Loretta Devine – Grey’s Anatomy
Jean Smart – Harry’s Law
Martha Plimpton – The Good Wife

Reaction: Good choices, especialy with Plimpton and Cusack. Thurman was one of the few memorable things about Smash, but does anyone believe that show qualifies as a Drama series? It’s more like a comedy…

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Bonneville – Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall – Dexter
Jon Hamm – Mad Men
Damien Lewis – Homeland

Reaction: This is one of the toughest categories year in and year out. Anything Homeland is hot, but Cranston is putting on a clinic each week on Breaking Bad. Hall is getting a bit long in the tooth in this category and is a bit outclassed, so I would have cheered more had Fringe’s John Noble took his place who is long overdue for some recognition for playing a dozen versions of his character Walter Bishop. We still love you, John. And Timothy Olyphant was also left out for what was his finest season as Raylan Givens.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito – Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle – Downton Abbey
Jim Carter – Downton Abbey
Jared Harris – Mad Men
Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones

Reaction: Again, a knockout category and I’m glad I don’t have a vote for this one. Harris had a season to remember, and I’ve never rooted for an antagonist before like I did with Esposito’s Gus Fring. What’s not to love about Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister? And both Carter and Coyle are strong on Abbey but I’m surprised not to see Alan Cumming from The Good Wife, also no Walton Goggins for Justified? Bah!

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Mark Margolis – Breaking Bad
Jeremy Davies – Justified
Jason Ritter – Parenthood
Ben Feldman – Mad Men
Dylan Baker – The Good Wife

Reaction: How the hell do you leave Neal McDonough off this list? What an absolute crime! He deserves the spot more than fellow Justified guest, Jeremy Davies who is great on the show, but McDonough was riveting. We’ll be rooting for Breaking Bad‘s Mark Margolis (DING! DING! DING!) who got to finally step out of the wheelchair and show people a great performance in the Breaking Bad episode, “Hermanos.” Ritter who got no respect in The Event, did remind people of his talent in Parenthood.

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story
Game Change
Hatfields and McCoys

Reaction: Even with Downton Abbey leaving this category, it still stacked. BBC is well represented with Luther and Sherlock. American Horror Story qualified and that helped it not to get lost in the Drama series. I’m glad it’s recognized. Hatfields and McCoys made a late charge and it’s fresh on voters’ minds.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Connie Britton – American Horror Story
Ashley Judd – Missing
Nicole Kidman – Hemingway & Gellhorn
Julianne Moore – Game Change
Emma Thompson – The Song of Lunch (Masterpiece)

Reaction: Lots of reliable Academy and fan favorites make this category extremely competitive this season, but something tells me that Moore will get it for portraying Sarah Palin. Judd’s action role in the canceled Missing, AKA TV’s Taken, is a bit of a odd pick.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Kevin Costner – Hatfield & McCoys
Idris Elba – Luther
Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Woody Harrelson – Game Change
Bill Paxton – Hatfield & McCoys
Clive Owen – Hemmingway & Gellhorn

Reaction: – Connect yourself to Ernest Hemmingway in any way, shape or form and you will get attention. I’ll be rooting for either of the BBC representatives in Elba and Cumberbatch because both are so clearly distinct in the massive sea of good television.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Ed Harris –  Game Change
Denis O’Hare –  American Horror Story
David Strathairn –  Hemingway & Gellhorn
Martin Freeman – Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Tom Berenger – Hatfields & McCoys

Reaction: I’ll admit to seeing only Freeman and O’Hare, who I both enjoyed for different reasons. Knowing this Academy, Harris is the front runner in portraying McCain.

Outstanding Host in Reality TV
Tom Bergeron – Dancing With the Stars
Cat Deeley – So YOu Think You Can Dance
Phil Keoghan – The Amazing Race
Betty White – Off Their Rockers
Ryan Seacrest – American Idol

Reaction: I’m rooting for White. I am not afraid to admit that I watch this show and yes, I do think it’s funny. Also, does anyone really care about the rest of these puppets?

Outstanding Reality – Competition
Dancing With the Stars
The Amazing Race
Top Chef
So You Think You Can Dance
The Voice
Project Runway

Reaction: If we’re talking reality here, why is Dancing with the Stars here? The Voice could be roped into that strange celeb/reality blend too because in all honesty, our eyes are on what Christina Aguilera will wear and say next. The Amazing Race will be the odds on favorite, as usual, especially with Survivor being absent. I’ll still be rooting Top Chef and Project Runway but again, Survivor’s absence is a big surprise. Let’s just be thankful that American Idol wasn’t nominated.

Outstanding Variety Series
The Daily Show
Colbert Report
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Saturday Night Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Reaction: It’s the usual suspects except Conan O’Brien is missing. That move to TBS has not done much for Conan outside of security. It seems like everyone’s forgotten what network he’s moved to. I also don’t think this was one of SNL’s better years either.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Zooey Deschanel – New Girl
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey – 30 Rock
Julia Louise-Dreyfus – VEEP
Lena Dunham -Girls
Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation
Melissa McCarthy – Mike and Molly

Reaction: The Academy is in love with Fey, Poehler, and McCarthy. Fey can do no wrong despite 30 Rock not currently being as great as the earlier seasons. Poehler and Parks and Rec probably had its best season, and it’s probably no coincidence that both that and Veep’s  leads were nominated in an election year. Well played HBO and NBC. I like Deschanel, but I’m surprised she got nominated, then again, I’m not. Dunham and Falco are no surprises here after their seasons but I feel like this category is missing some stronger candidates.  Also no Alison Brie and no Krysten Ritter… double sigh. Waitaminute, does anyone else notice how they got seven nominations when most others had only six? Lots of gripes are going to come at this one…

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik – The Big Bang Theory
Merritt Wever – Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig – Saturday Night Live
Sofia Vergara – Modern Family
Julie Bowen – Modern Family
Kathryn Joosten – Desperate Housewives

Reaction: When is the Academy going to grow some balls and nominate Kaitlin Olson for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? I’m eye-rolling at the Modern Family nods but mildly applauding Bialik’s nomination. Wiig is the only thing that saves SNL half the time and I have to admit that I never been desperate enough to tune into Housewives since the first season. Where are the girls of Happy Endings? Cheryl Hines or Allie Grant of Suburgatory? Bah! The comedy nominations get me pissed every single year.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Don Cheadle – House of Lies
Louis C.K. – Louie
Jon Cryer – Two and a Half Men
Larry David – Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock

Reaction: People need to stop recognizing Two and a Half Men, seriously. Every time Cryer and this show are recognized, it shows why Hollywood keeps making brain dead comedies for the networks. Parsons, Baldwin, and David were almost written in months ago. Snooze. Here’s where Louis C.K. gets his nomination along with his writing and directing. Him winning would be an incredible upset knowing these voters, but there’s no one else who actually deserves it more than him.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ed O’Neill – Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Modern Family
Ty Burrell – Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family
Bill Hader – SNL
Max Greenfield – New Girl

Reaction: Again, no disrespect to MF, but the Academy should be ashamed at nominating four goddmamn actors from one show in one category. There are other shows out there you know. Damon Wayans Jr. should be on this list. Also Nick Kroll from The League should be here and I also think that Garrett Dillahunt deserves a nomination for Raising Hope. Want another diss? How about James Van Der Beek on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23. Hell, anyone but a Modern Family cast member–this season anyway.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Big Bang Theory
Curb Your ENthusiasm
30 Rock
Modern Family

Reaction: Wow, Curb Your Enthusiasm made a resurgence in the comedy awards. Was hoping Louie would crack this category once and for all but somehow 30 Rock got yet another nomination even though it’s been sitting in park for the last few seasons. The same could be said about Modern Family. I’m not sure if Archer entered as a comedy or animated series, but it should be here nonetheless. Wilfred is a cutting edge show that requires more thought than just laughing straight jokes but it seems to go over many heads. Episodes was another snubbed victim. VEEP and Girls took away spots normally held by network comedies and that’s nice, but Louie still deserves to be in this category and so does Community. Booooooo!

Outstanding Animated Program
American Dad – Hot Water
The Penguins of Madagascar – The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole
Futurama – The Tip of the Zoidberg
Bob’s Burgers – BurgerBoss
The Simpsons – Holidays of Future Passed

Reaction: Where’s Archer? One episode of Archer is more entertaining than all of the nominees back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program
Regular Show – Eggscellent
Adventure Time – Too Young
Disney Phineas and Ferb – The Doonkleberry Imperative
Robot Chicken – Fight Club Paradise
Mad – Kitchen Nightmare Before Christmas / How I Met Your Mummy

Reaction: Knowing that Adventure Time, Regular Show, Mad and Robot Chicken all have nominations this year but Sons of Anarchy doesn’t sums up the type of twisted turmoil happiness and anger bestowed on people like us who follow television.


Other notable nominations and notes:

  • In the comedy writing category, both Community (Remedial Chaos Theory) and Louie (Pregnant) got nominations. So essentially the Butterfly Effect and TV’s longest fart joke got nominated. See how random the Emmys can be?
  • Louis C.K. also got a directing nomination for “Duckling” which may have been the greatest half hour of television last year.
  • Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan got a directing nomination for the series climax, “Face Off”
  • Mad Men dominated the drama writing category with three nominations; Homeland picked up one too for its Pilot.
  • Nominated for Main Title Design: FX’s American Horror Story’s creepy opening, Cinemax’s Strike Back, Starz Magic City, PBS’ Great Expectation, and Fox’s New Girl that lasts less than 10 seconds. How is Game of Thrones not nominated?
  • Burt Reynolds did not get an Emmy nomination for Voice-Over performance in Archer. Dammit!

Well, those are our initial reactions, want to share yours? For a complete list of the Emmy Nominations including the technical categories, click here.

Showtime Has Your Comic-Con Transportation Needs Covered

Never letting a Comic-Con go by without getting their latest and greatest series as much exposure as possible, Showtime has once again sponsored the SDCC transportation shuttles. Eight different bus lines will run through downtown San Diego, each having its own Showtime series star donning the sides.

I’m glad to see that the network is promoting Episodes and House of Lies, two of its hilarious comedies that could use the marketing support. Also getting some love is Dexter, Homeland and Shameless.

Showtime will be hosting panels for Dexter with series stars Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter on Thursday night (where they will also unveil the Homeland Season 2 trailer). To follow is Shameless on Saturday night featuring William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, Justin Chatwin and Jeremy Allen White.

Check out some of this year’s shuttle skins below, all of which subscribe to the ever popular Internet-meme style of design.

House of Lies Premiere Review: Can Cheadle’s Charm Alone Buoy This New Series?

If we’re willing to root for a pot-selling mom in Weeds and a narcissistic alcoholic in Shameless,  can we possibly identify with a conniving, cutthroat management consultant that appears to have only money and sex on his mind?

Showtime looks to pose that question with their latest antihero dark comedy, House of Lies (“HOL”), starring the incomparable Don Cheadle and based on the Martin Kihn book, House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time.

HOL ventures into the wild and sexy world of Management Consulting (who knew?), where conniving, fast-talking sharks use quick wit and spreadsheets to make naïve executives dependent on their manipulative, shady advice. This hardly sums up the profession, but HOL does achieve a level of hyperbole and cynicism about overall corporate greed that will either be entertaining for people in the know or infuriating for those who believe industry titans are the root of all evil. I suppose this premise is enough to build a series around, but only if it presents us with characters we can identify with. By the end of the pilot, I can’t say that I’m yet a fan of any of the show’s would be heroes.

First, there’s Marty Kaan (Cheadle), a partner at the fictitious Galweather & Stearn firm and a smooth-talking ladies’ man that has dysfunction all around him. In case you haven’t guessed, he’s in the business of slick-talking people for his own selfish benefit. Whether it’s the wallets of clients or the panties of strippers, he’s getting into someone’s pants at the end of the day.

He’s got one hot pill-popping ex-wife in Monica (The Vampire Diaries’ Dawn Olivieri), who does double duty as his sex buddy and business-world nemesis (a partner at rival consulting firm, Kinsley – yes, it sounds like McKinsey). Their love-hate relationship knows no bounds and there’s no doubt that copious amounts of hate sex is on the menu for these two (prepare yourself for an exceptionally gratuitous session in episode 2).  Strangely, Monica is sharp enough to binge on drugs and wake up and be one of the sharpest consultants in the game. Go figure.

Then there’s Kaan’s colleagues, Jeannie (the always cute Kristen Bell), Clyde (Ben Schwartz) and Doug (Josh Lawson) who make up his project team and find a way to argue at just about every juncture. Bell’s wit and personality will certainly go a long way here, though the clichéd sexual tension between her and Marty has the potential of dragging her character down. Otherwise, she’s sharp and the necessary rational person in this collection of self-serving misfits.

At home, Marty is ‘grounded’ by his cross-dressing son with Monica, Roscoe (Donis Leonard, Jr.) and his old school father Jeremiah (Glynn Turman). It’s not clear at this point if Rosco is transgender for the sake of humor (it’s not really funny here) or if he’s in place simply to humanize Marty. After all, Roscoe’s mother detests that he’s ‘a tranny’, whereas Marty is more understanding and merely sees it simply as an experimentation phase (at least that’s how he defends his son, though secretly he’s disappointed in his lifestyle).

The first episode has our Los Angeles based consulting team traveling to New York, to help the executives of corrupt firm MetroCapital avert a customer crisis and cash out their bonuses. This proves to be easier said than done as Monica’s firm is also booked on the project. Even more, Marty decides to bring a stripper to a big dinner meeting with the client.

Treating consulting as if it’s rocket science, HOL pauses every so often for fourth-wall breaking pauses, which Kaan uses to explain industry jargon like “counseled-out” (just so everyone on the other side of the screen knows that he’s talking about getting fired). For the most part, this technique is overused and without impact since explanatory dialogue is seldom necessary.

What remains to be seen is if the oft-likeable Cheadle can make Kaan both funny and endearing. We see glimpses of this in his relationship with his son (extra points for the Halo Reach session with him at the end), but ultimately Kaan is going to have to be someone the viewer can be sympathetic to. It’s hard to get behind him when he justifies his job only because it makes him a seven figure salary and when his rally-cry to his teammates is “let’s get this money.” To make things worse, he actually wins the client’s business by convincing them of a way to screw the common man – a message that is so insensitive to what’s going on in the real world that I’m surprised the writers went with it.

Someone also needs to tell the writers that subtle can also be funny. In several instances, the show goes to great, outlandish lengths to garner laughs, only to come up short. The lesbian scene in the restaurant followed by it’s ‘squirter’ conclusion was especially heavy-handed and out of place, as if people wouldn’t watch if you didn’t give them something lewd to talk about at the water cooler in the morning. If HOL continues to employ this type of shtick, it will be nothing more than a bad Saturday Night Live skit that airs on cable.

I will say that HOL has great potential given its cast, mainly with Cheadle and Bell doing a lot of the heavy lifting. If it achieves the right balance of cynicism and subtle humor and can add a few layers of depth to Marty beyond his adeptness at swindling clients and bedding women, then House of Lies may be able to fit in nicely in Showtime’s stable of curiously funny antihero comedies.

Showtime’s ‘House of Lies’ and ‘Shameless’ Edge out ‘Californication’ with Stellar Ratings

House of Lies, Showtime’s newest half-hour comedy, got off to a stellar start in its series premiere. The series grabbed 1.6 Million viewers for the night, beating out the Fall-2011 series premiere of Homeland, which had 1.38 Million viewers.

House of Lies also beat out the Californication Season 5 premiere which took in 1.03 Million viewers for the night. However, the Cali Season 5 premiere did trump the season four finale by 22 percent. During Season 4, Cali 76% of viewers tuned in after the Sunday airing through DVR and On Demand.

Shameless was also a big win for the premium network, taking in 2.06 Million viewers. The Season Two premiere saw a 37 percent increase from the Season One finale. Currently, Shameless grabs the youngest audience for the network. Showtime reports that 40% of the audience is under the age of 35. The series is now ranked as the number 3 series on Showtime.

For Showtime, the House of Lies premiere is a definite success. The pilot episode was aired online two-weeks prior to the network premiere. Yet, the series still yielded strong numbers with Showtime subscribers.

Blast Off #5: Animated Prime Time & The 2012 TV Schedule

The fifth Team Focus Blast Off is here, featuring Ernie Estrella and Mo Fathelbab.

buzzfocus blast off tv 2012 animated prime timeIn this podcast, we discuss the growing landscape for animated prime time TV shows, starting with old time favorites like The Simpsons, Family Guy, Futurama and Robot Chicken to newer series including The Looney Tunes Show, Thundercats, Archer, Young Justice and Allen Gregory.

We then shift our attention over to the 2012 TV show and check out some of the new shows coming in 2012, like HBO’s Luck and Showtime’s House of Lies, as well as returning favorites like Justified, Game of Thrones, Shameless and many more.

Check out the latest podcast and enjoy!

Click here to listen to the Team Focus Blast Off. Click here to Subscribe to our Podcast on iTunes.

Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell Co-Star in Showtime Comedy ‘House of Lies’

With recent hit shows like Nurse Jackie, Weeds, United States of Tara and Episodes, Showtime has carved themselves a piece of the comedy pie. Their latest entry is half-hour series called House of Lies, which is based on Marin Kihn’s book, House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Tell You the Time. The story revolves around a self-loathing management consultant named Marty (Don Cheadle, Ocean’s Eleven, Hotel Rwanda) who makes sure he gets his way by any means necessary. Working with him is a quick-witted Ivy-League grad, Jeannie Van Der Hooven (Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars).

Rounding out the cast are comediants Ben Schwartz (Undercovers), Josh Lawson ($quid The Movie), Dawn Olivery (Heroes), Glynn Turman (In Treatment), and Donis Leonard Jr. (The Fresh Beat Band). Jessika Borsiczky (Flash Forward) is the executive producer and Stephen Hopkins (Californication, 24) will direct and executive produce. Production will begin on an initial run of 12 episodes this summer.

Could this be the series that pulls Bell out of her rom-com funk? Let’s hope so. Ever since Veronica Mars ended too soon, most of the projects Bell has landed on (When in Rome, Heroes, Couples Retreat) could be left on Mars for all I care, but a Showtime comedy with Cheadle and sharp dialogue? As for Cheadle, comedy isn’t always a staple of his, but he did turn in memorable roles as Cousin D in The Bernie Mac Show, Frederick Douglass in Funny or Die Presents… and Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean series. This sounds like a great project for both, consider us tuned in.

Dawn Olivieri: From Vampire Diaries and True Blood to Don Cheadle Co-Star

Dawn Olivieri, who has appeared on True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, is going from the supernatural to the cutthroat white collar dark comedy.

Deadline recently revealed that Olivieri would star opposite Don Cheadle in the upcoming Showtime Pilot House of Lies.

House of Lies is labeled a subversive, scathing look at a self-loathing management consultant from a top-tier firm. Cheadle will star as Marty, a highly successful, cutthroat consultant who is never above using any means (or anyone) necessary to get his clients the information they want.

Don Cheadle Signs on to Showtime's House of Lies

Academy Award nominated actor Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2) has signed on to star in and executive produce House of Lies, the new half-hour dark comedy pilot from Showtime. The new series pilot is created and written by Matthew Carnahan (Dirt) and is based on “House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Tell You the Time” by Martin Kihn. Jessica Borsicsky (Flash Forward) will serve as executive producer, and Emmy winner Stephen Hopkins (Californication, 24) will direct.

“Don Cheadle is one of the great dramatic actors of our generation,” said Showtime President of Entertainment David Nevins. “He also happens to be an extremely funny man. House of Lies is the perfect show to take advantage of both sides of him. Honestly, I would have been happy just to get his autograph.”

Today is a big day for Cheadle. Zap2it also announced that Cheadle will be serving as spokesman for the Alliance for Global Conservation with Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries).

About House of Lies
House of Lies is a subversive, scathing look at a self-loathing management consultant from a top-tier firm. Cheadle will star as Marty, a highly successful, cutthroat consultant who is never above using any means (or anyone) necessary to get his clients the information they want.

Carnahan is no stranger to dark comedies, having created the provocative series Dirt, starring Courteney Cox as a blood thirsty tabloid editor. Carnahan’s film Serpent Girl, based on his own novel and starring Armie Hammer, Malin Akerman, Kate Bosworth and Helen Hunt, will start production next year.

Cheadle is also scheduled to star reprise his role as Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes in The Avengers and subsequent installments of Iron Man.