Showtime Buys ‘Call Girl’ Series

Showtime said it licensed British comedy Secret Diary of a Call Girl, buying 20 episodes of the half-hour series from IMG, Tiger Aspect, Silverapples Media and ARG Production.

The network plans to debut eight episodes from the first season in the spring or summer 2008. It made a commitment to license 20 episodes.

“Taken from best selling, real life diaries, this eye-opening insight into the life of a high-end call girl leading a double life became an immediate ratings winner in the United Kingdom,” Showtime said in Monday’s announcement.

Former HBO president Chris Albrecht, now an executive at IMG, is one of the producers.

“When Chris Albrecht called me to take a look at this show we were intrigued,” Showtime Entertainment president Robert Greenblatt said in the announcement. “Initially we thought we should make an American version of it, but we fell in love with the original episodes, were captivated by Billie Piper’s Belle, and decided to bring it to Showtime as is.”

Billy Piper, a young British actress, plays the lead character Hannah. “To her friends and family she is Hannah, a legal secretary clocking in regular hours and enjoying a ‘normal’ life. To her clients, she is Belle, the answer to all of their fantasies. Her challenge is to keep her two lives separate. Inevitably they begin to blur,” Showtime said.