Dexter and Homeland ended their respective seasons last month, but the New Year brings some promising new reasons not to cancel your Showtime subscription just yet. Both Californication and Shameless are set to premiere this Sunday, as does the one I’ve really been looking forward to — freshman series House of Lies.

Based on a memoir by Martin Kihn, the series stars Don Cheadle as a successful but self-loathing management consultant, with Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, and Josh Lawson rounding out the cast as Cheadle’s colleagues. The network has put the entire first episode online ahead of its January 8 debut, and you can watch it after the jump. Be warned, however, that although the video has been modified for nudity and language, it’s not exactly workplace-friendly.

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Each December since 2004, studio executive Franklin Leonard has compiled the best unproduced screenplays of the year, as voted by hundreds of execs, agency guys, and high-level assistants. Titled The Black List, the compendium highlights both established screenwriters and up-and-comers, and has served as a launching pad in the past for projects like Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, and (500) Days of Summer. Last year’s list included Margin Call, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Hunger Games, and Snow White and the Huntsman.

It should be noted that the headline is somewhat misleading — some of these screenplays have already been acquired and are already in development, though according to Leonard none will have entered principal photography by December 31, 2011. Also worth pointing out is that, as in previous years, there have been rumors that some of the participants have been accused of using the Black List to promote their own clients or friends. Finally, as Leonard reminds us each time, “The Black List is not a ‘best of’ list. It is, at best, a ‘most liked’ list.”

Regardless, we can always rely on the Black List to stir up conversation among both industry insiders and outside spectators alike, so without further ado, hit the jump for the complete 2011 list.

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Ben Schwartz to Write ‘Soapdish’ Remake

Briefly: The latest good but not-quite-classic film to get the remake treatment is the 1991 behind the scenes showbiz comedy Soapdish. Aaron Spelling produced and Michael Hoffman directed the original, which charted the intrigues related to the production of a soap opera. Now a new version has taken the first step towards production. Read More »

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