Patrick Stewart may be most beloved for his sci-fi and classical theater roles, but to his “American Dad” showrunner Seth MacFarlane, his comedic chops are just as impressive.
In knowing how versatile Stewart is, MacFarlane set out to cast him on a single-camera comedy, ultimately culminating in new Starz series “Blunt Talk,” the cast and crew shared on stage at the Television Critics’ Association’s summer press tour.
“One of the pleasures of my career is to connect people of whom I am a fan, and I’d been a fan of Patrick’s for a number of years and of Jonathan’s [Ames] work,” MacFarlane said. “It struck me as criminal that Patrick had never been cast in a single-camera comedy. He’s very quietly – or not so quietly if you’re me – has conquered every genre he’s attempted. He’s done hourlong dramas, live theater, multi-camera comedy, single-camera comedy, hosted SNL, every time he’s stepped into a new genre he’s performed like he’s been in it for years. To me it was a no brainer. It was a matter of someone creating a character worthy of his talents. For me it was literally about putting those pieces together.”
The person who created that character, Walter Blunt, was Jonathan Ames, best known for “Bored to Death.” To the showrunner, he saw Stewart’s outlandish news anchor character as a continuation — though slightly more subdued — of the Howard Beal character from “Network.”
“I rewatched ‘Network’ and thought, I want more Howard Beal,” he said. “At some point the movie became more about the William Holden, Faye Dunaway relationship. I saw this as a continuation – if ‘Network’ had continued, let’s find out if Howard Beal continued his broadcast. I see the show as a cross between ‘Network’ and ‘PG Woodhouse.'”
“Blunt Talk” will premiere on Sunday, August 22 at 9 p.m. ET on Starz.