Management consultants get bashed in "House of Lies"

Fri Jan 6, 2012 3:14pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Big business took a bashing in 2011 from Occupy Wall Street protesters and others, but it's management consultants -- the highly-paid fixers hired by companies in trouble -- who get a drubbing in new TV series "House of Lies."

The dark comedy making its debut on cable channel Showtime on Sunday, January 8, portrays management consultants as sleazy, money-grubbing executives who are as ethically challenged as the corporate clients signing their paychecks.

The show is based on the 2005 book by former consultant Martin Kihn, "House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You The Time."

Roughly Six years later, the TV show starring Don Cheadle has the kind of ripped-from-the-headlines plots that made crime series "Law & Order" and its spin-offs feel uncomfortably real.

The first two episodes feature a New York bank whose executives try to justify big year-end bonuses in the midst of a mortgages scandal and a powerful sports franchise whose future is threatened by the owners' bitter divorce.

"Hopefully, viewers are amused. It is a comedy!" Cheadle told Reuters. "But yeah, I was surprised. I didn't know what these guys did and who they were."

Cheadle, known for trustworthy characters like the manager who shields refugees in "Hotel Rwanda", plays the slick, disreputable Marty Kaan, whose team of consultants rack up billable hours for issuing absurd management directives.

"He is a mess," Cheadle said of his character. "He is somebody who has all of this ability to be a shark, bring on a challenge, and try and manipulate it to his advantage.   Continued...