CHICAGO

Kelsey Grammer To Play Chicago Mayor In 'Boss'

11/19/2010 01:30 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As Chicago gears up for a February election--and the first new mayor in 21 years--Kelsey Grammer of "Frasier" is gearing up to play the Windy City's fearless leader in a new Starz series.

According to the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal, Grammer will play a powerful Chicago mayor with a "secret degenerative mental condition" in "Boss," a drama series directed by Gus Van Sant.

The Starz network has reportedly signed on for eight episodes, and production is set to begin in Chicago this spring.

For Mike Royko fans out there: the show is (unfortunately) not based on his 1971 biography of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, which shares the same name (and is incredibly awesome.)

Entertainment Weekly's Margaret Lyons was skeptical of a Chicago politics show without the Daley-factor:

Except one thing kind of confuses me, and I say this as a former Chicagoan and someone who wrote about city politics a lot: How do you write a political show set in Chicago that fictionalizes away Mayor Daley? The city's political culture and climate are so deeply linked to the Daley family -- one of whom has been mayor for roughly 42 of the last 55 years. It's like writing a show about a New York City commuters, except there's no subway.

But, as Rosenthal points out--there is a strange Chicago politics connection to the show:

Adding a bit of surreality, "Boss" was packaged for Lionsgate Television and Grammer's Grammnet Productions -- and sold to Starz -- by WME, the Hollywood firm run by Ari Emanuel brother of real-life Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel.

Both Rosenthal and Lyons have high hopes for the show, pointing out that Chris Albrecht, who runs Starz, helped shape some of the greatest television series ever, including "The Sopranos," "Sex and the City," "Six Feet Under," "The Wire" and "Deadwood."

It will be repeat Oscar nominee Van Sant's first television project.

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