Blunt Talk, a live-action comedy series from Seth MacFarlane and Bored To Death creator Jonathan Ames starring Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men), has landed at Starz with a 20-episode, straight-to-series, two-season order for a 2015 premiere. The project hails from Media Rights Capital, which yielded a similar straight-to-series, two-season pickup from Netflix for its drama House Of Cards. The comedy project was recently taken out, garnering interest from multiple networks. There was some behind the scenes back-and-forth on who would produce the series as MacFarlane is under a very rich overall deal at 20th Century Fox TV. (He is currently in negotiations for a new pact.) The TV studio, which is behind all other MacFarlane comedy series, is currently not involved in this one but I hear the issue has not been completely resolved yet. MacFarlane has very strong ties to MRC, which was behind his YouTube original series Cavalcade Of Cartoon Comedy as well as features Ted and A Million Ways To Die In The West.
Blunt Talk is a character-driven comedy revolving around Walter Blunt (Patrick Stewart), a British import intent on conquering the world of American cable news. Through the platform of his nightly interview show, Blunt is on a mission to impart his wisdom and guidance on how Americans should live, think and behave. Besieged by network bosses, a dysfunctional news staff, numerous ex-wives and children of all ages, Blunt’s only support is the alcoholic manservant he transplanted from the UK to join him in Los Angeles. The series follows the fallout from Blunt’s well-intentioned, but mostly misguided decision-making, both on and off the air. Ames, who originated the idea for the series, will serve as executive producer and as writer and showrunner. MacFarlane and Fuzzy Door Prods also serve as executive producer; Stewart will be a producer. “In the character of Walter Blunt, Seth, Jonathan and Patrick have found the alchemy that makes a borderline alcoholic, mad-genius-Brit the man you want fighting in America’s corner,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said. “Seth and Jonathan have struck the right balance between biting wit and outright absurdity in building this world, and we cannot wait for Patrick to breathe life into Walter.”
Blunt Talk expands Stewart’s relationship with MacFarlane. The British Shakespeare actor has voiced characters on MacFarlane’s animated series Family Guy and American Dad and also served as narrator on Ted. “My career took an abrupt and radical left turn when Seth McFarlane created CIA Deputy Director Avery Bullock on American Dad,” Stewart said. “This new character, Walter Blunt, is not at all like Avery, thank God, because this is live action and I am a Knight of the Realm. Blunt is, however, much smarter than Avery and has his own TV show, which has to be better than being Deputy Director of the CIA.” Starz will retain all domestic multiplatform rights including television, home entertainment and digital. MacFarlane is repped by WME and Karl Austen; Ames is represented by WME and Stephanie Davis; Stewart is represented by UTA.