DEBRA MESSING TO STAR IN COMEDY "EAST WING" FROM ALI WENTWORTH AND LIZ TUCCILLO FOR STARZ
Santa Monica, Calif. - June 16, 2020 - Starz, a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), today announced that Emmy(R) winner and Golden Globe(R) nominee Debra Messing ("Will & Grace," "Smash") will executive produce and star in the network's new series in development "East Wing." The half-hour comedy is created and written by Ali Wentworth ("Nightcap," Jerry Maguire), who will also appear in the series alongside Messing, and Liz Tuccillo ("Divorce," "Sex and the City"). "East Wing" is produced by Lionsgate and executive produced by Messing, Wentworth, Tuccillo and 3 Arts Entertainment's Howard Klein ("The Office," "The Mindy Project") and Molly Madden ("The Starter Wife," Picture Perfect).
"East Wing" draws from the experiences of Ali Wentworth's mother, who served as Social Secretary in the White House during Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980s. It tells the story of Hollis Carlisle (Messing), a hostess extraordinaire who juggles her threatened husband, rebellious children, Nancy Reagan's Chief of Staff and a crippling social anxiety disorder. Ali will reoccur as Hollis's best friend, Kelly Forbes, who is a stay at home mom and is threatened by Hollis's success.
"The charm and relatability Debra brings to every character she inhabits will captivate audiences once again as she brings Hollis to life on the screen," said Christina Davis, President, Original Programming for Starz. "This is a whip-smart comedy that despite its 1980's set dressing, is a pointed commentary on politics and the politics of being a woman today that will be a valuable addition to our slate of premium programming by and for women. Debra, Ali and Liz will most definitely not be pulling any punches."
"Debra is a singular talent with whom we've had the honor of working in the past, and we couldn't be more excited to reunite with Ali to bring her mother's incredible story to viewers," said Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs. "Ali, Debra and Liz are shepherding a witty and empowering series right in the wheelhouse of our STARZ premium platform."
Messing is best known for her Emmy Award(R)-winning role as "Grace Adler" on NBC's Emmy(R) and Golden Globe(R) winning comedy series, "Will & Grace." She also starred in television series such as "The Mysteries of Laura," "Smash," "The Starter Wife" and Lionsgate's TV remake of Dirty Dancing. Messing's film credits include Irresistible (2020), Searching, The Women, Along Came Polly, and The Wedding Date, among others.
A multi-talented performer and three time "New York Times" bestselling author, Wentworth brings a wealth of experience to all her endeavors. She created, wrote and starred in Lionsgate's "Nightcap" on the Pop network. She also created, starred in and executive-produced the critically acclaimed STARZ series "Head Case." Her film credits include It's Complicated, Jerry Maguire, Office Space and Trial and Error.
Messing is represented by 3 Arts Entertainment, Gersh and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher, LLP. Wentworth is represented by Ted Chervin and Katie Cates at ICM Partners and Adam Kaller at Hansen Jacobson. Tuccillo is represented by Felker Toczek Gelman Suddleson.
Starz (www.starz.com), a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), is a leading global media and entertainment company that produces and distributes premium streaming content to worldwide audiences across subscription television platforms. Starz is home to the flagship domestic STARZ(R) brand, STARZ ENCORE, 17 premium pay TV channels and the associated on-demand and online services, including the highly-rated STARZ app. With the launch of the STARZPLAY international premium streaming platform and STARZ PLAY Arabia, Starz is expanding its global footprint in a growing number of territories. Sold through multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, telecommunications companies, and other online and digital platforms, Starz offers subscribers more than 7,500 distinct premium television episodes and feature films, including STARZ Original series, first-run movies and other popular programming.
The first major new studio in decades, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) is a global content leader whose films, television series, digital products and linear and over-the-top platforms reach next generation audiences around the world. Lionsgate film and television properties also support a global network of location-based entertainment and other branded attractions as well as a robust video game business. Lionsgate's content initiatives are backed by a nearly 17,000-title film and television library and delivered through a global sales and distribution infrastructure. The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring and ground-breaking content created with special emphasis on the evolving patterns and diverse composition of the Company's worldwide consumer base.