EXCLUSIVE: Clyde Phillips has signed a new two-year overall deal with Lionsgate Television. Phillips recently joined Lionsgate’s dark comedy Nurse Jackie, and his duties as executive producer/showrunner on the Showtime series will fall under his new pact with Lionsgate, which also covers development.
Phillips was already talking to Lionsgate about renewing his overall deal when the opportunity to take over Nurse Jackie came up when original showrunners Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius stepped down. “All the stars aligned,” Phillips said. “I thought Nurse Jackie was really good, and I thought it could be great.” He also liked the prospect of working with Nurse Jackie star Edie Falco and the fact that he was not asked to just come in and “babysit” an established series. “I was asked to reboot the show, and that’s a challenge I willingly and happily accept.”
To do that, Phillips has assembled a team of writers, including bringing in longtime friend, comedy veteran Tom Straw, as an executive producer. The two first worked together on Phillips’ Fox comedy series Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, on which Straw served as co-executive producer. Straw’s credits include Grace Under Fire, Cosby, Whoopi and most recently, The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. Phillips’ team also includes Michael Davidoff & Bill Rosenthal (Men At Work) as co-executive producers; Cindy Caponera (Saturday Night Live), current Nurse Jackie scribe and playwright Liz Flahive as supervising producers; Daniele Nathanson (CSI: NY) as executive story editor; Gina Gold & Aurorae Khoo (Running Wilde) as story editors; and Abe Sylvia (Dirty Girl) as staff writer. Despite the fact that Nurse Jackie was given a fifth-season order with Phillips at the helm at the tail-end of the traditional staffing season when many sought-after writers are already locked in, “we got everybody we wanted from the highest echelon to staff writers,” Phillips said. He has spent the past month in the writers room and is getting ready to pitch their ideas for next season. Because he hasn’t discussed them with the network yet, Phillips was hesitant to reveal much about Nurse Jackie‘s fifth season, but said that it will focus on “the aspect of the newly sober Nurse Jackie character facing the consequences of what she has done to herself and others.” I hear that, in addition to the writer additions, the show’s cast will also likely undergo some tweaking.
“Clyde Phillips is an amazing showrunner, creator, and friend,” Lionsgate TV’s Kevin Beggs said. “Equally versed in comedy and drama, we have been exceedingly pleased with his development over the last two years, are thrilled that he has come aboard Nurse Jackie, and look forward to a long association together as we begin our next development deal.t” While The opportunity to work on Nurse Jackie was great, Phillips said he wanted to re-sign with Lionsgate TV, where the former Dexter showrunner had been since 2010, even before that came along. “It’s a writers and producers dream there,” he said. “They have innovative ways not only to put shows on but also keep them on the air.”