CableFAX writers continue to report on upcoming cable shows presented at the Television Critics Association Press Tour now underway in Los Angeles. Here are some highlights from Viacom, USA and Syfy. For a look at HBO, BBCA and Starz go here; for Turner and A&E go here. CableFAX Daily has complete coverage of the tour.
Comedy Central: Where “Workaholics” steals a familiar page from screw-ups-doing-stupid-things shows like FX’s “Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Comedy Central’s new “Kroll Show” (premieres Jan 16) takes it a bit further by stealing—or at least borrowing—actual FX talent. Starring Nick Kroll of FX’s “The League,” Kroll Show plays like a stream-of-consciousness homage to every absurd reality show and pop-culture situation on the planet, with Kroll playing a number of bizarre characters. “There is a really strong narrative thread, and you learn more about these characters with each episode,” explained Kroll. Trust us. It’s funny.
BET: Move over Real Housewives, it’s time for the men to share the spotlight. BET’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood” (premieres Jan 15) satires the reality TV world, but with men. Hilarious men. “What about the husbands? Can’t we act foolish too?” said Stephen Hill, BET pres, music programming and specials. The show features a “group of men talented enough and not afraid to make fun of themselves,” said cast member and comedian Kevin Hart. For instance, JB Smoove spits a lot, fashion model Boris Kodjoe’s good looks are played out and Nelly lifts weights too much, he said. “The goal is to show how ridiculous [reality] shows have gotten,” said Hart, by making fun of themselves—and men. “Funny is funny, and men are men,” said Smoove. “We all do the same stupid stuff over and over again.”
USA: USA’s 1-hour original “Graceland” (summer premiere) depicts the drama that ensues when a group of undercover FBI, DEA and US Customs agents live together under a single roof in a beachfront mansion in Southern CA. Executive producer Jeff Eastin, also creator of “White Collar,” said that casting is “90% of the battle.” It’s also important to “maintain the world you’ve created in the pilot.” “When you’re dealing with a house full of people who lie for a living and whose very lives depend on their ability to keep their lies straight,” said star Daniel Sunjata, who plays FBI agent Paul Briggs, you get to see “who’s not keeping secrets, who’s being up front, who’s not being up front.”
Syfy: A few weeks prior to Syfy’s “Defiance” premiere in April, a multi-platform video game of the same name—featuring the same sci-fi world and characters—will launch to viewers and gamers alike. It’s “one world, but with two ways in,” said showrunner Kevin Murphy. Each is a standalone world, but together they are much more powerful, he said. The series is set in the near future, where planet Earth is overtaken by the arrival of seven alien races. The net has partnered with video game expert Trion Worlds to create the game. According to Syfy pres, original programming Mark Stern, “there was no aspect of this dealmaking that was normal,” since the net had to cover rights you wouldn’t normally have to cover. “And lawyers love that,” he said. The series was shot in 3 locations: Toronto, one of the series’ virtual environments and a football-sized backlot in Burbank, CA. Stern noted that Toronto was appropriate because it matched the aesthetic of the show. “You don’t want it to be too pristine,” he said. “Being in Toronto gives you a certain texture.” Murphy thought Toronto was great because it offered “an assload of tax credits.”