Kristen Bell to Play a Showtime Character — But Not a Quirky Housewife

108086330 Kristen Bell to Play a Showtime Character    But Not a Quirky HousewifeKristen Bell, the voice of Gossip Girl, is coming back to a medium she never really left. She’s set to star in the pilot House of Lies, based on a tell-all about management consultants. Showtime’s new entertainment president, David Nevins, has voiced a strong commitment to shaking up the cable network that has become known for a specific sort of show: suburban ladies with secrets, played by world-class actresses.

Under Nevins’s predecessor, Robert Greenblatt (now at NBC), the Showtime model was predictable enough to get parodied on Saturday Night Live. Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell weaving stories of corporate intrigue would seem to be as far from that model as one could get — if Showtime’s other current projects (the Matt LeBlanc comeback Episodes, the Roseanne-for-the-2010s Shameless, the forthcoming Claire Danes espionage drama Homeland) weren’t even farther afield. Nevins told the Daily Beast in January that he intended a broader Showtime to compete more directly with HBO, saying of his network, “It’s not like programming a network where you’re trying to find shows with compatible sensibility so that you can get The Simpsons into Family Guy.” Meanwhile, Greenblatt, who oversaw Showtime’s renaissance, is at work saving NBC, which currently airs its urbane, zany comedies in a three-hour block on Thursdays. At least someone’s learned from success.

ddaddario@observer.com :: @DPD_