Close moves to TV, F/X already loves it enough to set ad-free bow and 5-hour marathon
By Michelle Foody
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 7/18/07 — After striking gold with “The Riches,” the FX Channel has announced another big screen star vehicle formatted for television—this time with Glenn Close (“Dangerous Liaisons,” “Air Force One”) at the helm. Her new show, “Damages,” takes a page from “ripped from the headlines” inspiration, using the explosion of corporate scandals to fuel its 13 episode season.
Ted Danson (“Cheers,” “Becker,” Saving Private Ryan”) returns to television as Arthur Frobisher, the Enron-esque CEO on trial, facing off against Glenn Close as the female senior partner at a top New York City firm. The producers insist, however, that this is not just headline news exploitation. The show instead looks into the people behind the crumbling stock portfolios.
“It was more just the culture of all those corporate scandals at the time”, insisted executive producer Daniel Zelman. “There seemed to be one after the other of them, and we became very interested in sort of the characters who were a part of those scandals.”
The producers were also quick to insist this is to be another ”Lost,” plagued by meandering plot lines and endless loose ends:
“We know where we’re going. We have tent-poll moments that we’re building to all the way through to the end, and it’s very clear to us where we want to end up”, explained Zelman. “[However], we want to leave room for improvisation because we’re doing the show very quickly and it’s a new show and the actors themselves are teaching us more about who the characters are.”
An interesting tent poll is Glenn Close herself, embracing the smaller screen for its meatier roles offered to woman over 30—to which Kera Sedgewick, Minnie Driver, and Mary Louise Parker, among others, can all attest. .
“For me the whole interest was the gender, that this person was a woman at the head
of her own law firm in a very, very high-powered male-dominated world. And I can’t say that I know exactly every step of how she got to where she got to, but I know she has a lot of war stories,” Close told Hollywood Today. “To find these real authentic, complex, and strong female parts, that kind of great writing is being done for television..”
Show creator Todd Kessler agreed, adding that much of this rich writing pops up on those channels outside the major four networks:
“I know that many of the shows focusing on women are on cable. For us, the jumping-off point was being able to go to a place like FX and have this idea embraced. It wasn’t like, ‘Well, we loved the show, but do you think you could make the “Patty” character a man in his mid-30s?’ There was none of that retooling going on.”
The love must be mutual. FX is premiering “Damages” on July 24th in an hour-long, commercial free block. Also, on Labor Day, a 5 hour marathon is already scheduled, before anyone has even seen the show. The sides of buses and prominent billboards already have a sinister-looking Glenn Close peering out. Let the scandals begin.