HOLLYWOOD – HBO yesterday announced as part of its Fall scheduling a new eight part series starring Morgan Freeman and entitled Morgan Freeman Sits on a Stool and Reads from the Phone Book.

Each episode will feature the Shawshank Redemption star and Oscar winner sitting on a comfortable stool – ‘like a bar stool’ – and reading from the telephone book.

‘People have been saying that I have a mellifluous honey toned voice,’ Mr Freeman said. ‘And more than once someone has said to me, I could listen to you read from the phone book. So I got to thinking… Why not.’ 

Of course the concept isn’t entirely original. One of the television highlights of last year was the HBO special, ‘Sir Ian McKellen Sits in a Comfy Armchair and Reads the Yellow Pages.’ Producer Sally Arlow said that audience figures were through the roof so a follow up was almost inevitable. ‘But whereas Sir Ian brings with him the Gandalfy Shakespearey Englishness, we had a lot of conversations with Morgan about making his 8 part series a specifically American experience. Hence the stool.’

‘The show is not going to appeal to everyone,’ says Ms. Arlow. ‘The iPhone generation, people with computers, Google, that sort of person. But there is still an audience of perhaps more traditional, very sleepy people who wish to doze in front of the television while Morgan Freeman reads from the phone book.’

Although the exact identity of the phone book has not been revealed, there are already plans afoot for similar programming should Morgan Freeman Sits on a Stool and Reads from the Phone Book prove a success.

Dame Judi Dench has expressed an interest in reading out John Deere Tractors Owner Manuals while sitting in a wicker chair. And John Malkovich has just signed on for a new NBC programme entitled: John Malkovich Sits in a Jacuzzi and Reads out Wikipedia Entries of Long Forgotten Boy Bands from the 1980s.

Morgan Freeman Sits on a Stool and Reads from the Phone Book will show this Fall.

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