Starz is getting back into the comedy world in a big way. Not only did they order their first comedy series since the cult smash "Party Down," but they committed to two seasons of it. "Blunt Talk" is a half-hour scripted series created by Jonathan Ames and co-produced by Ames and Seth MacFarlane. Starz announced its 20 episode, straight-to-series order today.
The series stars Patrick Stewart, who will also serve as a producer, as Walter Blunt, a British news anchor who moves overseas to try to conquer the world of American cable news. Though well-intentioned, Blunt's decision-making is less than stellar, as evidenced by his numerous ex-wives, illegitimate children, and an alcoholic manservant he brought with him to Los Angeles.
"I'm beyond thrilled to be working with Jonathan Ames and Sir Patrick Stewart," said Seth Macfarlane. "Jonathan's creative talent is formidable, and his writing style is wholly original, hilarious, and provocative. And of course, Patrick Stewart is one of the greatest actors alive today. His skill and versatility are unmatched, and he will excel as the star of his own show. Thank you Starz for allowing us to bring Walter Blunt to life!"
While the premise sounds like a program designed for CBS or FOX with a multi-camera setup and a laugh track, "Blunt Talk" has one big ace in its creative engine: Ames. Serving as creator, writer, showrunner, and executive producer, Ames last and only other TV show was the short-lived but brilliant "Bored to Death." Ames doesn't have any writing credits since the show ended in 2011, implying he's been cooking this project up for a while. Stewart's attachment also points to higher pedigree. The man made famous for his portrayals of Captain Picard and Professor Xavier has done voice work on MacFarlane's two animated Fox shows, "American Dad" and "Family Guy."
"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 obviously has faith in the three-man team. A two-season order is quite the gesture, even to woo top talent like MacFarlane, and they haven't dabbled in comedy since "Party Down." Can the company behind one cult favorite and the man behind another generate a surefire hit for a network in need of one? MacFarlane must think so. Here's hoping this is closer to "COSMOS" quality than "Family Guy."