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Sam Shepard Headlines First Epix Original Series Pilot

20 Nov, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Veteran actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard is slated to star in “Tough Trade,” the first original one-hour drama series for Epix, the high-definition pay-TV and online streaming channel co-owned by Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount Studios.

Directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), “Tough Trade” stars Shepard as the patriarch of a three-generation Nashville music family whose penchant for drink, debauchery and divorce has left them both morally corrupt and on the verge of bankruptcy.

“Tough Trade” was created and written by Chris Offutt, executive story editor on “True Blood” and co-producer on “Weeds.”

Filming begins Dec. 3 in Nashville.

Epix launched Oct. 30 on Verizon Communication’s FiOS TV (in 2.5 million households) and is set to possibly bow on satellite TV operator Dish Network with 13 million subscribers.

Epix previously said it would offer subscribers post-Jan. 1, 2008 theatrical releases from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies, and post-Jan. 1, 2009 box office movies from Lionsgate, United Artists and MGM.

Separately, Akamai Technologies announced that it would deliver and manage Epix’s high-definition programming across TV, video-on-demand and online distribution platforms.

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