March 11, 2008

Ladies Take Lead at HBO

I'm usually quite happy to read about women getting leads in TV shows. But I have to take issue with the tone of Lisa de Moraes TV column in today's Washington Post. From her piece today you get the impression that guys do the serious work and, "chicks" do the light stuff. It's just so demeaning. See for yourself:

Chicks are back, accessible is back, fun is back at HBO.

The network, which just wrapped up a wrist-slittingly depressing final season of "The Wire" and is still angsting its way through five nights a week of "In Treatment" (tonight's patient: Alex, the arrogant Navy pilot who insists his recent brush with death and a disastrous mission in have had no effect on him), announced yesterday it has ordered up 13 episodes of a new drama series, "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," based on the international best-selling novels of Alexander McCall Smith.

The news came the same day the trades unveiled HBO's greenlighting of a pilot from "Will & Grace" alum Jhoni Marchinko called "Driving Around With Joni," about a successful 40-year-old woman, suddenly widowed, who spends her days driving around Los Angeles with her French bulldog trying to figure out the meaning of life.

Can I do a show about me walking my dog around Brooklyn all day?

The network also is developing a comedy series with Darren Star and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas called "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" -- which, yes, is fun, unless you're the governor of New York, which most of us aren't. It's based on Tracy Quan's book, the Hollywood Reporter reminded.

These projects, and Alan Ball "True Blood," based on Charlaine Harris's best-selling books about a psychic waitress and her vampire boyfriend, mark the first projects in the post-Chris Albrecht era at HBO. (You remember former HBO chairman Albrecht, who entered rehab after allegedly assaulting a female companion in Vegas, only to get the old heave-ho when the L.A. Times reported another allegation of violence, this one against a female HBO staffer.)

HBO co-president Richard Plepler and programming group president Michael Lombardo declined to discuss the recent trend toward female leads and, um, fun, but did tell The TV Column their game plan is to "throw out the rulebook."

"Actually, we said, 'There are no rules -- the only rules are good storytelling,' " Plepler added.

I'm going to be watching this trend. My question is when is HBO going to air the Linda Bloodworth-Thomason Show, 12 Miles of Bad Road starring Lily Tomlin and Mary Kay Place. This sounds like a comedy and doesn't sound as "light" or trashy as some of the shows mentioned above.

This chickification of all things women is driving me nuts.