A show not only has to be really good to stand out these days—it has to be pretty darn different, too. Being different is a key point of, well, differentiation for Showtime’s Roadies, according to executive producer Winnie Holzer. The Cameron Crowe project is just what the name suggests—a series about the grunts who set up and break down the stage for bands and spend a lot of time on buses, and in each other’s faces, in between.
“It shows a workplace that I think has never been explored before,” says Holzer. “It’s just different from anything on TV.”
Holzer actually had a small part in Jerry Maguire and got to know director Crowe during long hours on set. Roadies has early buzz, but Holzer deflects any advance praise to Crowe. “I’m a partner, a helper,” she says. “It’s his show, his vision, his characters.”
June 26 will be a busy night in TV land, with Showtime debuting Roadies and the new season of Ray Donovan and ABC rolling out its game block, which includes Michael Strahan on $100,000 Pyramid and Alec Baldwin fronting Match Game.
But before that, CBS aims to spin summer gold with some offbeat concepts. BrainDead, an absurdist sci-fi thriller set within the Beltway, has political figures fighting off brain-eating bugs. Creators Robert and Michelle King, masterminds behind The Good Wife, envisioned Washington’s partisan gridlock as a result of a virus that causes outlandish behavior in members of Congress.
“The connection we made was, that’s the way horror movies work,” Robert said, citing Invasion of the Body Snatchers. “That’s a very strong metaphor for what happens a lot in DC.”
BrainDead rolls June 13.
Also featuring Good Wife DNA is a 13-part murder mystery that’s meant to be consumed like a sunblock-stained paperback. American Gothic debuts on CBS June 22 and represents the first crack at showrunning for Corinne Brinkerhoff—who made her bones on The Good Wife.
“I’ve worked under so many amazing showrunners,” Brinkerhoff told B&C. “I try to cull tips from all of them.”
The cast includes a couple Cinemax hotshots—Antony Starr, star of Banshee, and Juliet Rylance, who plays uptown girl Cornelia on The Knick. (Juliet Rylance fact: Just as Tony Danza always seemed to play “Tony” on a sitcom, Rylance once played “Juliet” in a London stage production of Romeo and Juliet.)
Brinkerhoff has come to realize how little time a boss gets to spend actually writing. “The one thing you feel most equipped to do,” she says, “you have the least time for.”
How much does she miss the writers’ room? “It’s my habitat!” Brinkerhoff says. “It’s where I feel most useful and happiest.”
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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