Is it time for HBO to bring this favorite series back to life?
Test audiences didn’t expect a show like Entourage to attract ample viewership when it first aired on HBO in 2004. It was a quirky, delectably comedic take on show business that managed to take the drugs, lack of job security, and workplace abuse out of the equation, enough to regale casual onlookers with an inside look into the life of a typical A-lister. But fourth wall-bending pieces about fame and fortune are mostly a dime a dozen, and nothing Hollywood hasn’t seen before. Plus the Mark Wahlberg series was competing with the likes of Sex and the City and Sopranos that year, and many didn’t think it would match up. But Entourage was an unexpected home run.
Not only did it catch audiences in an alluring chokehold, it won six Emmys out of 26 nominations and landed Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild noms in succeeding years. A little over a decade later, it’s difficult to imagine an entirely different cast behind such lovable faces, and yet HBO is rumored to be gearing up for exactly that: a soft reboot of Entourage for a fresh generation of Mark Wahlbergs. Hollywood insider Daniel Richtman insists a brand-new Entourage is already in active development over at HBO. The series will probably debut on HBO Max, along with the studio’s current slate of upcoming streaming exclusives.
The story of Entourage was lifted from actor Mark Wahlberg’s life and career, the tumultuous road the Infinite star trekked to be the consummate crowd-puller he is now. The show left out the details of Wahlberg’s more unsavory exploits to keep the narrative from becoming too dreary. It focused on the highlights of Wahlberg’s Hollywood career and the numerous friends he’s made along the way. According to the 49-year-old, his assistant came up with the concept for the HBO show after suggesting filming Wahlberg and his friends would be “hilarious.” Eric Weinstein and Donnie Carroll joined in, and the rest is history.
The character of Vincent Chase was directly inspired by Wahlberg himself. A new show for HBO could either recast the roles entirely or craft a sequel-reboot that acknowledges the events of the original without having to retcon anything. It could introduce a new batch of characters with a significantly more contemporary storyline. The Gossip Girl remake pulled the same card by remodeling the original show into something more in line with the times that would endear Gen Xers. The younger characters could be someone’s child or protege from the original Entourage, or individuals with comparable backstories and conflict.
Entourage aired on HBO for 8 seasons, from 2004 to 2011. A feature film came out four years later chronicling Vincent Chase’s directorial debut (and the disaster that ensues). It was inspired by Wahlberg’s Hollywood experiences but written, directed, and produced by Doug Ellin, who won three Emmys, four Writers Guild of America Awards, three PGA Awards, and a BAFTA for his work on Entourage. The original series starred Adrian Grenier (Stage Mother) as protagonist Vincent Chase. Jeremy Piven played Ari Gold (after Wahlberg’s agent Ari Emanuel), Kevin Connolly played Eric “E” Murphy (after Weinstein and Wahlberg’s manager Stephen Levinson), Jerry Ferrara played Salvatore “Turtle” Assante (after Carroll), while Kevin Dillon played Johnny “Drama” Chase (after Wahlberg’s cousin Johnny Alves).
Entourage is about as biographical as you’d expect from a show about Mark Wahlberg’s life story. Every character represents a consequential member of the Boston native’s support system at the time. Perhaps the reboot will be a long-overdue update on Marky Mark and explore the last 10 years of the former hiphop frontman’s life?