Patrick Stewart’s Walter Blunt is a former British officer who served in the Falkland Islands war and hosts an interview show, Blunt Talk, on U.S. television. We meet him in a hotel bar one evening, downing Scotches and telling a story about one of the Duke of Windsor’s friends who cut off a soldier’s testicles in New York.
Emotionally fragile, “recently divorced for the fourth time,” prone to bad decisions and misguided acts of gallantry, Blunt goes on a brief bender and ends the night nearly fired. He persuades the network to give him one last opportunity on the air, where he pulls off a painful ratings coup. Resurrected, he’s determined to maintain his job and “take care of my viewers.” That involves delivering stories of hope and telling the real truth, however many lies are required to do it.
His next misadventure forces him into a ludicrous Plan B that has very little chance to succeed. But that’s better than conceding defeat. “I would rather go out like this,” he declares. “A fool’s mission is still a mission.”
Creator Jonathan Ames (Bored to Death) has said he blended elements of Howard Beale in Network and P.G. Wodehouse in this new series, green-lit for two 10-episode seasons. The supporting cast is led by Adrian Scarborough as Blunt’s trusty valet, Harry. Jacki Weaver plays Rosalie Winter, his stolid executive producer, ready for a spooning session with the star as needed. Romany Malco is Bob Gardner, the network president who backs Walter but warns him, quietly, “Bob giveth, Bob taketh.”
Notable guest stars include Moby, as himself, sort of; Ed Begley Jr. as Rosalie’s husband; and Richard Lewis as Blunt’s unorthodox therapist.