Showtime's original series "The Big C" doesn't premiere until Aug. 16, but there was already substantial discussion about its survival at Showtime's annual TCA summer press tour presentation Thursday.
There was also talk about whether another new Showtime series, "The Real L World," will live beyond its first season.
"The Big C" stars Laura Linney (left) as Cathy Jamison, a woman whose life changes when she gets diagnosed with terminal melanoma. Linney and the show's creative team discussed whether or not "The Big C" has a limited shelf life due to Cathy's dire diagnosis.
Executive producer Vivian Cannon said that the show will handle Cathy's imminent demise by giving the show a more real-time pace, rather than the traditional sped up television timeline.
"Every season is a season, so in the pilot episode, it's the first day of summer, so the first season of the show would be summer, and the next would be autumn and so on," Cannon said. "Big C" creator Darlene Hunt added, "So, six TV seasons really only amounts to eight months of Cathy's life."
Jenny Bicks, another one of the show's executive producers, joked that figuring out how to handle Cathy's grim prognosis will be "a good problem to have if we have a second season."
As of now, Showtime has committed to a 13-episode first season of "The Big C."
"The Real L Word" doesn't have a terminally ill protagonist, but it's future also might be in doubt.
Conceived as an unscripted follow-up to "The L Word," the show follows a group of high-profile lesbian women living their lives in Los Angeles. It debuted on June 20. "The Real L Word" is Showtime's first reality series.
At TCA, Showtime's head publicisit Richard Licata said, "We haven't made a decision yet" about renewing the show for a second season.
"Real L Word" creator Ilene Chaiken said the recent management shuffle at Showtime had postponed a decision about the show's future. "Honestly, we don't know … we're still figuring it out due to the changes at Showtime," Chaiken said.