Showtime Announces a Surprise Series From Sacha Baron Cohen

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Last week Showtime stirred up interest on social media when it posted a teaser on YouTube advertising the coming release of “perhaps the most dangerous show in the history of television.” On Monday the network had details: Sacha Baron Cohen is returning to television with a seven-episode series, “Who Is America?” that will debut on Sunday.

The series will bring Mr. Cohen, the gonzo creator of the characters Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev and Bruno Gehard, back to a starring television role for the first time since 2004, when HBO broadcast the final season of “Da Ali G Show.”

“Who Is America?” has been in the works for more than a year. The method of the series seems to be in keeping with that of Mr. Cohen’s previous efforts, which blurred the line between satire and reporting, with the disguised star filleting unwitting subjects.

On Sunday, Mr. Cohen’s Twitter account linked to a trailer that led with the words, “Imagine if Sacha Baron Cohen had been undercover secretly filming a new show for a year.” That was followed by a snippet of former Vice President Dick Cheney signing what Mr. Cohen’s newest character described as his “waterboard kit.” The video has been viewed more than one million times.

“I hope you’ll tune in next week for an interview with me,” Mr. Cheney says on camera.

The first episode will be available at midnight on Sunday online and through the network’s on-demand services, Showtime said, before airing at 10 p.m. The remaining six episodes will appear on subsequent Sundays.

Mr. Cohen has worked steadily since creating his Ali G character when he was a regular on “The 11 O’Clock Show” on Channel 4 in Britain in the 1990s. His 2006 satirical film, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” was a box office hit that spawned a thousand Borat imitations on American campuses, but its follow-ups, “Bruno” and “The Dictator,” failed to do as well.

In a statement, Showtime’s chief executive, David Nevins, said, “Nobody knows how to cause a stir like Sacha Baron Cohen, and it’s going to be fascinating to watch what happens when ‘Who Is America?’ is released on the world.”

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