So much for Epix’s dream pairing of Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon as the leads for its first original comedy series. The premium TV network/VOD service backed by Viacom, Lionsgate, and MGM said in a statement today that the Oscar-winning actress has left Graves “due to artistic differences.” Two months ago she was set to play Margaret Graves, the wife of former U.S. President Richard Graves (Nolte), who decides to follow her own political ambitions just as her husband embarks on a Don Quixote-like journey to right the wrongs of his administration two decades after leaving office. “Her replacement will be named shortly,” Epix said.
Graves is one of the two initial original series that Epix announced in May, along with the espionage drama Berlin Station. The comedy got a 10-episode straight-to-series after Deadline reported in February that the deal was imminent. Production is set to start in the fall for a premiere in autumn 2016. Created and written by Joshua Michael Stern, the half-hour political satire is produced by Lionsgate and executive produced by Stern and Greg Shapiro.
Graves was to be Sarandon’s first series-regular gig of her 35-year career, aside from brief stints in the early 70s on the soaps A World Apart and Search For Tomorrow. She has done plenty of TV, though, recently appearing on Mike & Molly and 30 Rock, doing a memorable arc on The Big C and recurring on Rescue Me. She has four Emmy noms and won a Best Actress Oscar for Dead Man Walking in 1996.
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