Showtime is expected to announce during their TCA session this morning that it has picked up to series drama pilot The Affair, starring Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson, and comedy pilot Happyish (formerly Trending Down), starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kathryn Hahn and Rhys Ifan. Both will receive 10-episode orders. This is the second consecutive year that Showtime is picking up two of its three pilots to series. (The third 2013 pilot, drama The Vatican, did not go forward.) Since David Nevins joined the network as an entertainment president, he has ordered a total of eight pilots, six of which have gone to series. The first four series, Homeland, House Of Lies, Ray Donovan and Masters Of Sex all have been critical and commercial successes. (Add to that CBS’ Under The Dome, which was fully developed at Showtime.) They will now be joined by The Affair and Happyish as well as the upcoming direct-to-series genre drama Penny Dreadful.
The Affair is a provocative drama exploring the emotional and psychological effects of an extramarital affair. Told separately from the male and female perspectives, it centers on Alison (Wilson), a young woman waiting tables at a popular Hamptons diner, trying to piece her life back together in the wake of a tragedy. Her husband, Cole (Jackson), struggles to keep it all together, with his wife and with the financially-strained ranch that has been in his family for generations. Their emotionally-charged marriage becomes even more complicated when Alison begins an affair with Noah (West), a New York City public school teacher and aspiring novelist who is spending the summer at his in-laws’ estate out on the island. Tierney plays Helen, Noah’s college sweetheart, best friend, mother of his children, lover and wife of 17 years. Sarah Treem (House Of Cards) wrote the original script from a story co-created with In Treatment creator Hagai Levi with whom she worked on HBO’s adaptation of In Treatment. Treem and Levi will executive produce with director Jeffrey Reiner.
Happyish is described as a dark examination of our pursuit of happiness, a pursuit that might just be the very thing causing our unhappiness in the first place. Thom Payne (Hoffman) is 42, his new bosses at work are half his age and they say the words ‘digital’ and ‘social’ far too often. His mentor and boss, Jonathan (Ifans) tells him to “rebrand” himself, his corporate headhunter tells him happiness is a myth, and Thom’s not sure if his Viagra will interfere with his Prozac, or vice versa. Hahn stars as Lee Payne, Thom’s wife, who is looking for a purpose. Created, written and executive produced by Shalom Auslander, Happyish, which had been in the works for a couple of years, was developed by Ken Kwapis, who will executive produce, and Alexandra Beattie, who will co-executive produce, under their In Cahoots banner. John Cameron Mitchell directed the pilot. Hoffman will also executive produce under his Cooper’s Town Prods. banner.