I Think I'd Make A Pretty Good HBO Show

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Highlights From ‘Go Set A Watchman’

Harper Lee’s buzzed-about new release, Go Set A Watchman, went on sale last week, taking the world by storm with its new investigations of Scout Finch as a grown woman and its divisive portrayal of her father, Atticus Finch, as a racist figure. Here are some highlights from the new book:

Leonardo DiCaprio Agrees To Donate It-Factor To Science

LOS ANGELES—Saying the gift would immeasurably improve their understanding of the ineffable quality that makes certain big-screen stars positively radiate, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles announced Tuesday that A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio has agreed to donate his it-factor to science.

How Theaters Are Trying To Win Back Moviegoers

The number of Americans who went to the movies hit a 20-year low in 2014, leaving theaters scrambling to find ways to incentivize the public to see new releases on the big screen rather than watch films at home or on the internet. Here are some methods theaters are using to win back audiences and increase box office sales:

Comic-Con Survival Guide

San Diego Comic-Con is expected to draw more than 130,000 fans to Southern California this year to participate in cosplaying, attend panels, go to film screenings, and learn more about their favorite series. Here are some tips for surviving the four-day conference

Your Horoscopes — Week Of July 7, 2014

ARIES: Your belief that nothing can stop you will be tested this week by depression, procrastination, concrete barriers, dysentery, armed gunmen, and the unanimous passage of several laws targeted specifically at stopping you.

Disney Unveils First Virgin Princess

LOS ANGELES—In an effort to better reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their audience, Disney officials this week introduced Lily of Hazelberry, the company’s first virgin princess.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 23, 2015

ARIES: The universe, in all its wisdom, has a plan for everyone. Strangely, you’re supposed to be the nun who holds up a distributor cap and winks while the Nazis try to start their car.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 9, 2015

ARIES: Your death next week will seem in­explicable until people remember the ill-advised 1985 “cross your heart and hope to die” pledge you made to be best friends with Jenny Bosben.

New Music Festival Just Large Empty Field To Do Drugs In

Declaring the event a rousing success so far, organizers confirmed more than 45,000 people turned out Wednesday for the first annual Cavalcade Folk and Roots Festival, a four-day gathering that consists solely of a big empty field to do drugs in.

Director Seeking Relatively Unknown Actress For Next Affair

LOS ANGELES—Saying that he’s going for a certain look and will know it when he sees it, feature film director Peter Hastings, 52, confirmed to reporters Wednesday that he hopes to find a relatively unknown actress for his next extramarital affair.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of May 26, 2015

ARIES: You’re not sure if your new mousetrap is better, but due to its horrifying use of liquefying blades, the world will beat a path to your door out of sheer morbid curiosity.

Famous Television Finales

The award-winning AMC series Mad Men ended its seven-season run on Sunday night and drew critical acclaim for its final episode, a conclusion that many felt was poignant and satisfying. Here are some other memorable TV finales across the years

Plan For Future Still Involves Drumming For Lifehouse

SOUTH BEND, IN—Fifteen years after first envisioning the path he hoped his professional life would take, local man Brent Gibbs is still planning his future around being the drummer for Los Angeles-based alternative rock band Lifehouse, sources confi...

Fox Revives ‘X-Files’: What To Expect

After months of speculation, Fox has announced that it is bringing back its hit ’90s TV show The X-Files, about a team of FBI special agents investigating unsolved cases about strange and paranormal phenomena, for at least six new episodes...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 24, 2015

ARIES: Your belief that everything happens for a reason may remain unshaken in the face of personal tragedy, but you'll certainly be upset when you find out the reason is "to get the Zodiac some chicks." 

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 10, 2015

ARIES: As long as people don't look too long and the lights aren't too bright, no one will be able to see where they tried to fix your face from what will happen to it this coming Thursday. 

Nation Delighted As Many Famous People In Same Room Together

HOLLYWOOD—Expressing their immense personal satisfaction at the gathering appearing on their television screens, millions of Americans across the country were reportedly delighted Sunday night upon seeing many famous people in the same room together...

Half Of Hollywood Test Group Screened Placebo Film

LOS ANGELES—Saying the methodology helps them ensure unbiased results in their marketing research, studio executives at Paramount Pictures confirmed that during a Hollywood test screening this week they showed half of all theatergoers a placebo film...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of January 6, 2015

ARIES: One of the worst moments of a person's life is when they finally realize that they're mortal and are going to die, especially when it's a person like you who only sees the cement truck at the last second.

A Timeline Of Upcoming Superhero Movies

Following the massive successes of the Spider-Man, Batman, Avengers, and X-Men franchises, studios Marvel and DC Entertainment have announced as many as 40 upcoming superhero movies to be released over the next six years ...

Sesame Street’s 45th Anniversary: A Look Back

Sesame Street, the long-running PBS children’s television show starring a cast of Jim Henson muppets who teach children basic learning concepts and introduce them to difficult issues, turns 45 this week.
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I Think I'd Make A Pretty Good HBO Show

I don't think I'm talking out of turn here when I say that, as far as historical eras are concerned, I am probably one of the richest and most exciting periods in Western history. That's not me bragging; it's just a generally accepted truth at this point. After all, not every century of a nation's past can boast successive international wars, a radical intellectual movement, and a bloody revolution, but I've got all of that and then some. In fact, one would be pretty hard-pressed to find a period more compelling and ripe for gripping drama than myself.

Which is why, when you think about it, it's pretty crazy there hasn't been an HBO original series about me about by now. Something like 40,000 people were beheaded during me, for God's sake. Put that into a made-for-TV drama that weaves a rich tapestry of historical narrative with gritty tales of intrigue, murder, and sex, and I'm pretty much an untapped gold mine of programming, right?

I know, I know, everyone and their mother thinks they have a great idea for a cable television show, but stick with me on this one. Between sprawling aristocratic estates juxtaposed with sordid underworlds and political upheaval driven by ambitious but flawed political figures, I can deliver the full HBO package. You want elegant costumes? Check. Candelabras? Check. Beautiful women with moles? Check and check. I'm packed full of cool stuff. You could slot me in on, say, Sunday nights at nine and probably get a 2.5 Nielsen rating, easy.

Look, here's the first episode: A prominent but crooked nobleman hires a cash-strapped young libertine to ruin the innocent daughter of a politically outspoken peasant against the backdrop of Robespierre's Reign of Terror. Boom. That took me five seconds.

I'm just going to free associate now on some of the things you could see in an HBO show about me: a boar hunt in the verdant French countryside, a corseted young woman riding in an ornate gilded carriage through crowded Parisian streets, a stately duke applying his powdered wig in the morning with the help of his trusted footman. Seriously, tell me when to stop, because I can do this all night.

By the way, did I mention that I, 18th-century France, was a patriarchal society teeming with illegal brothels and prostitution? There's your gratuitous sex scenes for the first five episodes right there.

Cast-wise, off the top of my head, I'm thinking GŽrard Depardieu would pretty much be a given for me. You could probably get Selma Blair to play a beautiful young prostitute with royal ties in my prerevolutionary years—she could pass for French, no problem. Marion Cotillard would obviously be a tough get for a series regular, but I'm sure she'd do a cameo or two as a duchess or something. Throw in a little Tom Wilkinson as a Girondin sympathizer and Jean Reno as a wily beggar with revolutionary leanings, and you've got yourself a series. I can already envision the cast posing on the cover of Rolling Stone, goofing around with a prop guillotine under a headline like, "Sacrebleu! It's a hit!" It's almost too perfect, really.

And I think HBO is the right home for me, too. I feel like the other pay cable networks would not be able nail the period detail stuff as well, and basic cable just feels sort of cheap in a way, which I was anything but. I like HBO's track record. Michael Lombardo has made some smart programming choices lately, and I think he'd be sympathetic to my appeal to a young female demographic. Women have always been entranced by my mix of visual opulence and high intrigue. I don't mean to generalize, but it's true.

Oh! Just thought of something amazing. Maybe they could do some kind of cool narrative maneuver wherein NapolŽon Bonaparte is just a peripheral character quietly introduced halfway through the first season, but then as the political drama unfolds, he's deftly laced into a primary story arc, and we see how his life intersects with one of the lower-class characters. Might be good.

And also, all that NapolŽon stuff only started happening right at the end of me. Go back a ways and you'll find some wars with Austria and England, the reign of Louis XIV, an influx of immigrants inviting cultural fears of the unknown, and the Enlightenment, which shattered preconceptions about religion, science, and sex. That's more than enough material for a sharp TV writer—maybe one of the Deadwood guys, if possible—to set up character backgrounds and introduce themes that resonate with our current political and cultural landscape, like the rise of oppressive political leaders amid widespread social and economic decline.

Honestly, should I just pitch a treatment? Why not, right?