LOS ANGELES: December 17, 2004 -- Showtime Networks Inc. has made the decision to pick up the comedy series "WEEDS," a single-camera comedy from Lions Gate Television about a single mother who makes ends meet by selling marijuana in suburban Los Angeles, it was announced today by Robert Greenblatt, President of Entertainment for Showtime Networks Inc.
"I made it a mandate when I arrived here that Showtime would aggressively get into the comedy business. This series, along with Kirstie Alley's upcoming 'Fat Actress,' will do that in a way that is quintessentially premium," commented Robert Greenblatt.
"We're delighted to be in business with Showtime on WEEDS," said Kevin Beggs, President of Programming and Production for Lions Gate Television. "We believe that this comedy has the kind of wit and edge that audiences are clamoring for."
Produced by Lions Gate Television in association with Tilted Productions, WEEDS has received a 10-episode commitment and stars multi-award-winning actress Mary Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins and Kevin Nealon. The series will be produced in Los Angeles and debut on SHOWTIME in mid-2005.
WEEDS exposes the dirty little secrets that lie behind the pristine lawns and shiny closed doors of homes in the fictional town of Agrestic, California. Parker stars as a suburban mom who resorts to selling weed to support her family after her husband unexpectedly dies. Perkins stars as the uptight head of the PTA and Nealon plays a city councilman.
WEEDS is written and executive produced by Jenji Kohan ("Friends") and the pilot was directed by Brian Dannelly, who recently directed Parker in the critically-acclaimed high school satire "Saved!" Dannelly will serve as a producer on the series. Danielle Gelber is the creative executive for Showtime.
Lions Gate Television is the television production and distribution arm of Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE and TSX: LGF). Lions Gate Entertainment is the premier independent producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library of approximately 8000 titles is one of the largest in the entertainment industry. The Lions Gate brand name is synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom Inc., owns the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL" and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME® TOO", SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE® and TMC xtra. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD®, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND". SNI operates and manages the premium television network SUNDANCE CHANNEL®, which is a venture between NBC Universal, Robert Redford, and Showtime Networks Inc. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME® PPV. Additionally, the advertiser-supported television network SHOWTIME is available in Turkey through a joint venture with UK-based Zone Vision.