News Briefs: Starz and Steven Soderbergh Team Up for a High-End Prostitute Drama

By Tim Surette

Jun 24, 2014


... Starz has ordered 13 episodes of The Girlfriend Experience, an anthology series based on the 2009 Steven Soderbergh film of the same name. You know, the one where porn star Sasha Grey wore clothes. The half-hour episodes would follow high-class escorts—a new one in a new city each week—who give their clients more than just sex, they give them the "girlfriend experience," which includes a more intimate bond than just paying for a bonin'. I actually liked the film (mostly), which was more about dependency and new-world relationships than it was leaving $50 on the dresser after a rump romp. We'll see if Starz's version retains that same level of intellectualism. [THR]


... More not-girlfriend news: Showtime ordered a pilot for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (redundant, right fellas?), a half-hour comedy with "musical elements" *gulp* from Aline Brosh McKenna and Rachel Bloom. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend follows a young woman who gives up a successful career and sick crib in Manhattan to find love in California. Sure, why not? [Showtime via press release]

... ABC's Rising Star debuted last night, and I accidentally watched way too much of it. Like three minutes! But not a ton of other people did. The singing show drew about 5 million viewers and a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demo for its premiere episode, losing to America's Got Talent (8 million, 2.1). And if you were hoping that the crowds swelled for Enlisted's series finale and that Fox would rethink its decision to cancel it, nope. Less than a million watched, and it only earned a 0.3 rating among adults despite its biggest competition being Wipeout. [TV By the Numbers

... TNT premiered Michael Bay's The Last Ship last night, so I know what your next question is: what were the ratings, Tim!?!?!? I'll tell you: 5.3 million viewers, which TNT touts as the biggest launch for a new cable series so far this year. I didn't really care for the pilot, but if you need minimal story and maximum shots of a Destroyer's bajillion-caliber guns swiveling around, then it's for you. [TNT via press release]

... Fox has confirmed what we already knew: Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr., and Ryan Seacrest will all return for the fourteenth season of American Idol. On other sites, this would be top-billed news. Here at, it's buried in News Briefs. Yeah, that's how punk rock we are. *stubs toe on desk and cries for four hours* Yep, totally hardcore. [Fox via press release]

... "We're going to need a bigger television." Shark Week is coming back, and it's going to be bigger than ever, obviously. This year's celebration of feared fish will feature 13 shark-centric specials and the return of the late-night talk show Shark After Dark. Among the programs this year: Sharkageddon, about a spike in shark attacks in Hawaii; Lair of the Mega Shark, following the quest for the legendary 20-foot Great White in New Zealand; and Megaladon: The New Evidence, which is probably another B.S. fake-umentary about a giant shark. Shark Week kicks off August 10 on Discovery. [Discovery via press release]

... For once soccer didn't flop. Ha ha ha get it because they're always falling down as though their ankles just exploded? Oh man. Anyway, ESPN's broadcast of the footie match between the United States and Portugal became the most watched soccer broadcast in the history of this country, with 18.2 million viewers tuning in to see a tie. That beat the previous best, the 17.9 million who watched the U.S. women in the Women's World Cup Final in 1999. [ESPN via press release]


... Grey's Anatomy has found a keeper in Caterina Scorsone. The med-soap drama has promoted Scorsone, who plays Derek's younger sis Amelia Shepherd, to series regular for the upcoming Season 11. [TV Guide]

... Carl Lumbly, known as Agent Marcus Dixon from Alias, has joined the cast of A&E's The Returned do-over. He'll play Pastor Leon Wright, a local minister who counsels a woman through some mind-melting times. [THR]


... Our Emmy dreams continue with our wishlist for Best Actor in a Drama. Hint: Bryan Cranston made a few lists.  

... Lily took a stab at the True Blood premiere for the final season, and she totally liked it

... MaryAnn watched the Season 4 premiere of Falling Skies, and it's still pretty weird. 

... And I watched the series premiere of The Last Ship, which I found to be your basic Michael Bay glamorization of billion-dollar military vehicles and hooey science

... And if you're looking at the week ahead, Cory has a preview of FX's new middle-Eastern drama Tyrant

... AMC ordered a second season of Turn despite it maybe not deserving it. 

  • Comments (13)
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  • tnetennba Jun 24, 2014

    I see plenty of opportunities for good drama in a show about "companions", but the statement that each episode is about a different one eliminated all my interest. No thanks.

  • MarlboroMagpi Jun 24, 2014

    American boys are doing well in the world cup. We so nearly beat the fancy Ronaldo and Portugal. This coming match with Germany should earn given higher ratings. Both teams only need a draw and conspiracy theories abound which make for good ratings. You will know what I mean if you are into it.

    Glad The Girlfriend Experience will be on Starz. It will be lame if it was on network TV just like Crossbones.

  • Svanehjerte Jun 24, 2014

    There's nothing intellectual on Starz, which is why this only sounds like another disgusting attempt at showing nudity and sex on TV, and "hot" girls living the "glamorous" life of whoring...

  • MarlboroMagpi Jun 24, 2014

    Magic City and Power are two very good show. Though I did not watch Boss but many loved it too.

  • sofaspud2 Jun 24, 2014

    Surprised Soderbergh can even get arrested in LA after the DEPLORABLE "Magic Mike," which easily makes the list of top 10 worst films.

  • MiraTellia Jun 24, 2014

    Magic Mike was a huge hit! It made tons of money! Since when does Hollywood care about anything else? Soderbergh has apparently retired from directing, but there's absolutely no chance that it's from lack of offers.

  • ludoTV Jun 24, 2014

    When I read STARZ & high end prostitute in the same sentence, the first word that comes to mind is not 'intellectualism' - more like, opportunity for plot related nudity and other shenanigans. But hey, I could be wrong.

  • BigPoppaShizzle Jun 24, 2014

    "We're gonna need a new television" LOLz. U da man Tim

  • muzrub Jun 24, 2014

    Starz, make Caesar already! Get some focus!

  • Taccado Jun 24, 2014

    "We'll see if Starz's version retains that same level of intellectualism."
    Hopefully Starz goes with the same visuals as in Spartacus: slow-mo shots, overexposed colours, a lot of fluids flying in arches through the air...

  • Llostris Jun 24, 2014

    Since I'm giving Greys Anatomy a second chance I'm really happy Amelia will be a series regular. I liked her in Private Practice till she met James (that guy was awful). Fortunately, they aren't together anymore.

  • iheartfrosty Jun 24, 2014

    I know bringing Amelia to Grey's makes sense cos Derek but I would rather they bring Charlotte back. I miss her. *tear*