HBO is seriously in love with Washington.
While the TV industry, by and large, gives Washington a “miss” and tries not to think about the ratings heartaches that were “The Real Housewives of Washington” and “The Real World: D.C.,” among other shows, the premium cable network keeps gobbling up shows set in our fair city.
HBO just ordered a pilot for a comedy about a Jewish family living in Washington; the show is to be directed and executive-produced by Ben Stiller.
Stiller has cast his favorite actor — himself — in the lead role, and Alan Alda is tapped as a possible co-star.
The series hails from novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, who is among the show’s executive producers. Foer is the guy who wrote the book “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” which got turned into that newly Oscar-nominated weeper starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.
HBO promises that the new comedy will be “politically, religiously, culturally, intellectually and sexually irreverent.”
“Ben Stiller continues to be a major, multi-talented star because of his discerning ability to embrace creative and innovative projects — whatever the medium. From major blockbuster motion pictures to small independent films, from Broadway to off-Broadway, the common thread is always the excellence of the material,” said HBO’s president of programming, Michael Lombardo, who apparently did not see last year’s “Tower Heist.”
Speaking of “Tower Heist,” Stiller’s co-star in that flick, Eddie Murphy, is the latest to be cast in HBO’s ages-in-development biopic about former Washington mayor Marion Barry. (As long ago as 2002, the network announced — and we reported — that Chris Rock was going to executive-produce its biopic about the controversial politician and that Jamie Foxx would star.)
Those are just two of the latest Washington-based projects on HBO’s dance card. Here are two more:
● Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars in HBO’s new comedy series “Veep,” about the VPOTUS.
● Julianne Moore depicts former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in “Game Change,” HBO’s upcoming film about the 2008 presidential race.
Just last May, HBO premiered its flick “Too Big to Fail,” based on Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book “Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System” — about the 2008 financial meltdown and the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
HBO’s enthusiasm for Washington-set programming somehow survived the network’s experience with the 2003 mostly improvised drama series “K Street.” On the bright side, the series about lobbyists and politicians in Washington starred John Slattery. But HBO cut ties to the show after fewer than a dozen episodes — and we still wince when someone mentions the scenes featuring James Carville or Mary Matalin.