Showtime changes name of ‘The Big C’

November 8, 2012

Showtime to FX: Two can play that game.

Premium cable network Showtime announced Thursday that it had changed the name of its cancer comedy “The Big C” for the show’s final four-episode mop-up.

“The Big C,” which will hereafter be known as “The Big C: hereafter,” also was billed in Showtime’s announcement as “a four-part limited event series.”

“Limited series,” BTW, is what the TV academy used to call those TV projects we now call “miniseries” at the Emmy Awards.

Showtime also is adding a character to the show, for all four episodes, further distinguishing it from the three-season series. Kathy Najimy will play a no-nonsense therapist to star Laura Linney’s Cathy Jamison character, a suburban wife, mother and teacher whose cancer diagnosis shakes up her life.

Should Showtime declare the final batch of “C” episodes a miniseries, it will be taking a page from the playbook of the “American Horror Story” network FX and show creator Ryan Murphy.

“American Horror Story” copped 17 Emmy nominations last summer by not competing as a drama against “Mad Men.”

After competing in the drama-series races at the Golden Globe Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards a few months ago, the decision-makers behind “American Horror Story” decided the show is a miniseries going forward.

According to the TV academy, its Primetime Awards Committee decided that a program is considered a miniseries if the season is “based on a single theme or story line, which is resolved within the piece” and a drama series if it has an “ongoing theme, storyline and main characters” that are “presented under the same title” and have “continuity of production supervision.”

Making a ‘Killing’?

AMC, staring at a future without “Breaking Bad” and maybe also minus the Western drama “Hell on Wheels,” has jump-started talks to bring back “The Killing” after all.

Netflix has been brought into the conversations between AMC and Fox, “The Killing” studio, but AMC would get first crack at new episodes of the Veena Sud drama, the Deadline Web site reported.

AMC announced last month that “Hell on Wheels” would return for a third season. But the creators’ contracts were not renewed after AMC thought another of its writer/producers would become the show-runner — only he put them wise, and now the show has no show-runner and its future is in doubt.

In August, AMC announced that “Breaking Bad” would be back for a fifth and final season of 16 episodes — to be dragged out over two years, in two clumps of eight episodes.

Maybe AMC will call the final eight episodes “Breaking Bad: Walter White Out,” bill it as a “limited-event series” and declare it a miniseries at trophy season.

“Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston won the best drama actor Emmy every year in which he was eligible — until Showtime premiered “Homeland,” which broke Cranston’s winning streak in September.

‘Carrie’s’ new home

Instead of using “Sex and the City” prequel “The Carrie Diaries” to replace “Gossip Girl” at 9 p.m. Mondays, CW has decided to give “Carrie” the 8 p.m. berth starting Jan. 14. The aged “90210” will move to 9.

“GG” says so long Dec. 17.

Generally, it’s considered lunacy to launch a new series at 8 — better to give it an established series as a lead-in, driving viewers to the newbie.

Unless, of course, the new show stars some big pre-sold commodity. Like, say, the Green Arrow — the DC Comics character introduced to the world decades ago, and now starring in his own CW drama “Arrow.”

“Arrow” premiered at 8 one night in October and logged a whopping 4 million viewers — the biggest haul for a CW series unveiling on any night in three years.

Putting “Arrow” at 8 actually boosted older CW show “Supernatural” at 9 — it enjoyed its biggest audience in two years that night, and CW bagged its best Wednesday in two years.

“Arrow” scored a bigger rating among 25- to 54-year-olds than it did with 18- to 34-year-olds, maybe because Green Arrow is such an old franchise. Anyway, that was great news for CW, which is trying to broaden its very narrow audience.

Which brings us back to Carrie Bradshaw, who, of course, was the focus of the series “Sex and the City,” introduced to HBO viewers in 1998. She ran there six years and can still be seen in syndication — of course, played by Sarah Jessica Parker.

CW’s Carrie is much younger, however — in her mid-teens and just hitting Manhattan; she’ll be played by the much younger AnnaSophia Robb.

To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/tvblog.

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