Showtime is looking to add another powerhouse to its stable of half-hour leading ladies.

The premium cable network announced on Thursday (Aug. 27) that Laura Linney will executive produce and star in the Showtime pilot "The C Word," which will go in front of cameras in the fall.

Showtime conspicuously dodges categorizing "The C Word" as either a comedy or a drama, explaining that it will star Linney as a suburban wife and mother diagnosed with cancer and trying to face reality, while also finding the lighter side of her situation.

[The title is described in Showtime's press release as a working title and it's unclear if the net really plans on having "The C Word" come on the air so soon after the end of "The L Word."]

Darlene Hunt created the series and will executive produce along with Neal H. Moritz and Vivian Cannon for Original Film in association with Sony Pictures Television.

"Laura Linney is in that rare echelon of truly gifted actresses who fully embody the characters they play and we are honored to welcome her to Showtime," says Showtime Entertainment President Robert Greenblatt.  "Cancer is not usually the subject of half-hour comedy, but Laura saw what we did in this complex show -- a woman who gets a wake-up call that causes her to shake up her life and family. She will no doubt make this character both heartbreaking and disarmingly funny, and we’re thrilled that she has chosen this show for her foray into series television."  

Ah. See? Greenblatt uses that other "c" word, "comedy." 

Then again, Showtime's definition of comedy is a broad one, with shows like "The United States of Tara," "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie" all packing plenty of drama, thanks to stars Toni Collette, Mary-Louise Parker and Edie Falco.

Linney won't have any trouble fitting in with that group, should "The C Word" go to series. Her resume includes a trio of Emmy wins, most recent for HBO's "John Adams." She also has three Oscar nominations (for "Kinsey," "You Can Count On Me" and "The Savages"). And now she sounds ready to do some series television.

"How one lives fully while being tested by the unpredictability of life, and what one learns in the process, is always filled with endless possibilities for an actor," says Linney in the Showtime statement. "I am very excited to tackle such potentially rich, funny and complicated material."


A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.