BEVERLY HILLS – HBO, which helped launch the boom in cable-TV drama and now feels increasing heat from its rivals, will fire back this season with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Martin Scorsese, Dustin Hoffman, Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Carrie Fisher and Tracy Morgan.
Bill Maher is also bringing back “Real Time” this fall, and Gabriel Byrne will return for a third season of the acclaimed “In Treatment,” this time with Debra Winger as a regular.
Not that HBO is scrambling, co-president Richard Plepler and programming president Mike Lombardo told reporters here.
With the miniseries “The Pacific” a near-lock for multiple Emmys and the vampire series “True Blood” becoming one of cable’s hot tickets, Plepler and Lombardo said they are also excited to have landed “The Promise: The Making of ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town,'” a documentary about the making of Springsteen’s 1978 album. The special, which debuts Oct. 7, will feature footage shot during the recording sessions.
Before that, there’s this fall’s new marquee series, “Boardwalk Empire,” from “Sopranos” alumnus Terence Winter and Scorsese. It stars Steve Buscemi as the colorful character who kept Atlantic City wet during the dry years of Prohibition. The first 12-episode season debuts Sept. 19.