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HBO makes it official: "VEEP" will be a series

HBO Monday made it official: "VEEP," the pilot starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus that filmed in Maryland, will be a series.

The pickup was first reported here Saturday with the prediction that an official announcement would be made Monday. Read that story here.

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In its Monday release, HBO said the series is "expected to shoot in Baltimore." The reason for that language is that some details have yet to be finalized in various contract negotiations, persons familiar with the production said Monday.

Last week, Maryland's General Assembly passed legislation increasing incentives to Hollywood producers from $1 million to $7.5 million in the upcoming fiscal year. And there is an extra 2 percent incentive for TV producers like HBO to make their series in the state.

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One of the details yet to be finalized is whether HBO will make eight or 10 episodes for the first season. Even an order of eight would result in more than $10 million being spent in Maryland this fall in making the series, analysts said.

The series, which is created by Armando Iannucci, features Louis-Dreyfus as a former senator from Maryland who suddenly finds herself vice president of the United States. In an interview with the Sun Monday, Iannucci said he expected cast and crew would spend three months in the Baltimore area starting in October once the deal is finalized and shooting begins.

"Armando Iannucci is a master of smart, savvy humor, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is one of the sharpest comic actors around,"  Sue Naegle, president, HBO Entertainment, said in a statement announcing the deal Monday.  "We look forward to a memorable series from them and fellow executive producers Frank Rich and Christopher Godsick."

"I'm thrilled more than anyone is legally entitled to be," says Iannucci.  "HBO is the dream network to make television for, and I'm excited to be working with such a superb and funny cast headed by the uber-superb-and-funny Julia Louis-Dreyfus. If making season one of VEEP is as much fun as making the pilot, then I can die chuckling.  Plus, we get to say rude words."

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"It is a true delight to work with HBO and Armando Iannucci," says Louis-Dreyfus.  "I take the role of vice president very seriously, and although everyone says this is a comedy, I don't think there is anything funny at all about me being a heartbeat away from the presidency."

Iannucci said in a telephone interview with the Sun that he looks forward to shooting the series in the Baltimore area. A self-described "big classical music fan," he sang the praises of a concert he took in at the Peabody while in town to the film the pilot. And he says he loved area restaurants.

"We ate very well in Baltimore," he said. "We didn't go to a bum restaurant at all."

Here is the release:

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