Thursday, January 16, 2014

Showtime Orders Comedy 'Happyish' & Drama 'The Affair' to Series

At the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, Showtime announced series picks for two new series - comedy Happyish starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kathryn Hahn & Rhys Ifan and drama The Affair starring Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney & Joshua Jackson. Both are picked up for 10 episode runs.

Happyish (formerly Trending Down) is a dark examination of the pursuit of happiness, a pursuit that might just be the very thing causing our unhappiness in the first place. Hoffmann stars as 42-year-old Thom Payne, whose new bosses are half his age. His mentor and boss, Jonathan (Ifans) tells him to "rebrand" himself; his corporate headhunter tells him happiness is a myth; and Thom isn't sure if his Viagra will interfere with his Prozac, or vice versa. Hahn stars as Lee Payne, Thom's wife, who is looking for a larger goal, a purpose, a meaning when the best anyone can hope for is to be "happyish."

Shalom Auslander created the comedy and writes and executive produces alongside Hoffman with Cooperstown Productions banner. In Cahoots' Ken Kwapis will executive produce and Alexandra Beattie will co-executive produce. John Cameron Mitchell directed the pilot.

The Affair explores the emotional and psychological effects of an extramarital affair. The drama will be told separately from the male and female perspectives using the distinct memory biases to both misdirect and intrigue.

Wilson plays Alison, a woman waiting tables at a popular Hamptons diners, trying to piece her life back together in the wake of a tragedy. Her husband, Cole (Jackson), struggles to keep it all together, with his wife and with the financially strained ranch that has been in his family for generations. Their emotionally charged marriage becomes even more complicated when Alison begins an affair with Noah (West), a New York public school teacher and aspiring novelist who is spending the summer at his in-laws' estate out on the island with his wife, Helen (Tierney) of 17 years.

Sarah Treem wrote the pilot from a story co-created with Hagai Levi. Both will executive produce with Jeffrey Reiner, who directed the pilot.

"The Affair is a beautiful pilot. It is an intense exploration of two marriages and the affair that disrupts them - with great acting and a very clever, deeply-observed script by the marvelously talented Sarah Treem," said David Nevins, President, Showtime. "Shalom Auslander and Phillip Seymour Hoffman make for a formidable and unusual comedy team. The chance to get one of the truly great actors of our time into a such an incisive and current comedy was totally and completely irresistible."