Creator’s Decision Slows Showtime’s Development

Pasadena, Calif. -- The call on whether to renew some current Showtime series may be contingent on the decision of an executive who isn’t even on the premium network’s payroll.

The fate of the new seasons of Barbershop and Emmy Award-winning Huff are in the hands of Mitch Hurwitz, the veteran producer (The GoldenGirls) called “the genius behind” the series Showtime executives currently crave, Fox’s now-canceled Arrested Development.

Showtime president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt told pundits at the Television Critics Association press tour here Thursday that he wants Arrested Development, but only if its creator continues with the series.

“We’ll continue to see if a deal can be made,” he said, before adding that there have been no talks with Hurwitz since before the holidays.

Greenblatt said that if only a very small portion of the fan base of the show followed it to premium cable, it would become one of the network’s highest-rated programs. Deals with existing shows will depend on what happens with the acquisition, he added.

While some series are in limbo, Showtime has ordered two more seasons of Penn & Teller: Bullshit, and it is filming four new series: a video version of National Public Radio’s This American Life,with host Ira Glass; a Damon Wayans sketch show, The Underground; The Tudors,depicting the life of young Henry VIII, with Golden Globe-winner Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Elvis); and Dexter, a vigilante crime drama starring Michael C. Hall of Six Feet Under.

Showtime will debut its remastered version of Liza with a Z, the 1972 Emmy-winning Liza Minnelli special; Brotherhood, a tale of good and bad brothers in Providence, R.I.; and the second season of Huff in April.