Two-time Emmy winner William H. Macy could be starring in his first regular TV series gig if Showtime greenlights a remake of the Brit hit "Shameless." In the pilot, announced Wednesday, Macy will play the alcoholic patriarch of a working-class Chicago family who, after his wife abandons ship, leaves the parenting of his brood to his eldest daughter.
Creator Paul Abbott based the show on his own troubled upbringing in Manchester, England. The British version of "Shameless" won the BAFTA for best drama series for its first season in 2005 and contended again in 2006, 2007 and last year. The breakout stars of the British series were Anne-Marie Duff as the eldest daughter -- she picked up BAFTA nods in each of her two seasons on "Shameless" -- and James McEvoy, who played her ne'er-do-well boyfriend. Now a real-life couple, the pair have earned numerous kudos for their acting.
Macy is taking on the role in "Shameless" that won David Threfall the Royal Television Society best actor award in 2006. Threfall was a 1983 Emmy nominee for his supporting role in "The Life and Times of Nicholas Nickelby" but lost to Richard Kiley for "The Thorn Birds." Macy won his Emmy Awards for writing and starring in the 2003 telefilm "Door to Door." He earned his first Emmy nod for his recurring role on "ER" in 1997 and has since contended for another five acting Emmys as well as for producing the telefilm "The Wool Cap" in 2005.
Abbott, who also won the BAFTA for his two previous series -- "Cracker" (1995) and "Clocking Off" (2002) -- took an Emmy for the top TV movie "The Girl in the Cafe" in 2006. Writer/producer John Wells, a six-time Emmy champ for "ER" and "The West Wing," is shepherding the American adaptation of "Shameless."
Photo: The original cast of "Shameless." Credit: Channel 4