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Tanner, Take Two

Cartoonist/satirist Garry Trudeau and filmmaker Robert Altman are teaming on an update of  Tanner 88, their 1988 mockumentary (think Spinal Tap for the political set) about a losing Democratic presidential candidate. Production on the new, 90-minute limited series (three, half-hour episodes) begins in June.

Sundance aired the original Tanner 88 in February. The 11-part series--an hour plus 10 half-hours--had aired on HBO back in 1988. The positive reaction to the re-airing prompted the decision to recruit Altman and Trudeau to create a sequel. According to a spokeswoman, the channel is doing three episodes because that's how many executives thought they could complete and still be able to get it on air before the election. It is targeted for an October run (on Tuesday nights). Sundance will probably re-air the original in October as well.

The movies will feature original cast members Cynthia Nixon as Alex Tanner, Michael Murphy as Jack Tanner, Pamela Reed as TJ Cavanaugh, and Matt Malloy as Deke Connors. 

In the sequel, the candidate's daughter, Cynthia, is making her own documentary about the toll a losing race for the White House has on a candidate and his family. As with the original, the characters will mix with real-life politicos. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman have been approached, though Gore has his own new cable network to worry about. No word on who has committed to appear.

The producers plan to shoot some footage at the Democratic National convention.