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Kevin Spacey Talks to Showtime About Starring in His Own Series

The last time TV viewers had the chance to watch Kevin Spacey in a weekly series was more than twenty years ago, when he did a multi-week arc as drug lord Mel Profitt on CBS's Wiseguy. But Vulture has learned that the two-time Oscar winner has begun conversations with Showtime about returning to the small screen, this time as a leading man: He recently pitched the pay network's chief, Bob Greenblatt, on The Crux, a drama series in which the actor would play the leader of an extremely high-profile cult. Rod Lurie, the writer-director known for both TV (Commander in Chief) and films (the upcoming remake of Straw Dogs), is onboard to write the pilot script.

But since Spacey (who will next be seen as super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the upcoming Bagman) was the one who personally brought The Crux to Showtime, it's a good indicator that he's willing to find a way to make it work. Should all the pieces come together on a deal, it's expected Spacey and Lurie would executive produce the show, along with their respective production partners, Dana Brunetti and Marc Frydman. Vulture also hears that Scott Lambert, the ex–William Morris Agent who once represented Spacey, may also produce.

But since Spacey (who will next be seen as super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the upcoming Bagman) was the one who personally brought The Crux to Showtime, it's a good indicator that he's willing to find a way to make it work. Should all the pieces come together on a deal, it's expected Spacey and Lurie would executive produce the show, along with their respective production partners, Dana Brunetti and Marc Frydman. Vulture also hears that Scott Lambert, the ex–William Morris Agent who once represented Spacey, may also produce.

Spacey would join an already long list of big names headlining character-driven Showtime series, including Toni Collette (The United States of Tara), Laura Linney (The Big C, debuting in August), and Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie). Pay cable in general has become a more appealing workplace for Oscar-winning feature stars who aren't getting the high-quality roles they used to in a youth-obsessed Hollywood: Jeremy Irons is set for Showtime's The Borgias, while Dustin Hoffman, Diane Keaton, and Kevin Kline all have shows in the works at HBO. And the role of a charismatic cult leader sounds promising for Spacey; it's reminiscent of his evil-genius heyday in films like The Usual Suspects and Se7en, and definitely beats a show in which he pays it forward every week.

UPDATE: Not long after Vulture broke news of Showtime's conversations with Spacey, we got word that other networks — including HBO, which helped the actor score an Emmy nomination with the 2008 telepic Recount — have also heard the pitch for The Crux and are "in the mix" to land the show.

Photo: Samir Hussein/Getty Images