‘Masters of Sex’: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

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This fall, Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan star in Masters of Sex, chronicling the lives of human sexuality pioneers William Masters and Virginia Johnson. With the end of Dexter approaching, the decline in popularity of Nurse Jackie, and Shameless being a January lineup show, Showtime looks to Masters of Sex to be its next fall drama blockbuster. Here are 10 facts you need to know about the show.

1. The Story Follows Sex Pioneers William Masters and Virginia Johnson

William Masters, Virginia Johnson, Masters of Sex

William Masters and Virginia Johnson are who Showtime’s Masters of Sex is based on.

William Masters and Virginia Johnson pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response from 1957 until the 1990s. Their research touched off the sexual revolution from a midwestern teaching hospital in St. Louis. They made appearances on the cover of Time magazine and nearly a dozen appearances on The Johnny Carson Show.

Masters and Johnson’s studies were some of the first recorded laboratory data on the anatomy and physiology of human sexual response. These results were based on the direct observation of 382 women and 312 men over “10,000 complete cycles of sexual response.” Their findings, particularly on the nature of female sexual arousal and orgasm helped change many long standing misconceptions about sex.

2. The Show Was Created by Michelle Ashford

Michelle Ashford Showtime

Masters of Sex was created by Michelle Ashford, based on the William Masters biography, Masters of Sex. Ashford is known as a Emmy nominated writer from the 2010 HBO mini-series The Pacific.

3. Directed by John Madden

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No, not former American football player and commentator John Madden. We’re talking Hollywood’s John Madden, the guy who directed The Debt (2010), Killshot (2008) and Shakespeare in Love (1998). He is also known for directing some episodes of 1980s iteration of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

4. Masters of Sex Is Lizzy Caplan’s Second Nude Role in Her Career

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 21: Actresses Lizzy Caplan (Left) and Alison Brie (Right) attend Sheets Energy Presents The "Save The Date" And "End Of Love" Party At Stella Artois By Ally B At The T-Mobile Village at The Lift on January 21, 2012 in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stella Cafe)

Actresses Lizzy Caplan (Left) and Alison Brie attend Sheets Energy Presents The “Save The Date” And “End Of Love” Party At Stella Artois By Ally B At The T-Mobile Village at The Lift on January 21, 2012, in Park City, Utah. (Getty)

A lot of the internet hype surrounding the premiere of Masters of Sex is the apparent abundance of skin. Leading actress, Lizzy Caplan shows skin as soon as the first episode. This isn’t Ms. Caplan’s first nude exposure on television. She first appeared in the nude in season one, episode eight of True Blood, as character Amy Burley. If you’re curious it’s just a Google away.

5. The Mainstream TV Return of Allison Janney

Allison Janney

Everyone’s favourite TV presidential press secretary, CJ Craig (Allison Janney) is making a mainstream TV return in Masters of Sex. Allison Janney will be performing a recurring role as Margaret Scully, Barton’s (Beau Bridges) wife. Since the finale of The West Wing, Janney has had a few small movie (2007’s Juno, 2011’s The Help) and television (Family Guy, Shameless, LOST) roles.

6. Judith Verno, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly Are Executive Producers

Sarah Timberman

Judith Verno, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly are set as executive producers of Masters of Sex. The trio are weathered veterans in the world of producing. Sarah Timberman (shown above) and Carl Beverly are known for producing the television series Justified and Elementary. Judith Verno has produced for multiple TV movies, including The Craigslist Killer and Blue Lagoon: The Awakening. That’s a pretty solid producing team, if you ask me.

7. Michael Sheen Also Will Produce Masters of Sex

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Michael Sheen seems to be a jack of all trades. Not only is he a well-recognized screen actor, but he is now breaking into the producing role. Sheen has become better known as a screen actor since the 2000s, in particular through his roles in various biopics, including a trilogy of films as British politician Tony Blair, the broadcaster David Frost in Frost/Nixon, and as the outspoken football manager, Brian Clough in The Damned United. This is an exciting development in Sheen’s career.

8. Lizzy Caplan Started Acting After She Decided to Quit Playing Piano

"Bachelorette" Premiere - Arrivals - 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Did you know that Lizzy Caplan is a trained pianist? She graduated from the prestigious Hamilton Academy of Music in Los Angeles, California in 2000. Her classmates included non other than actor Emile Hirsch.

9. Masters of Sex is Partially Filmed in Brooklyn, NY

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Even though Williams and Johnson’s work mostly took place in St. Louis, it looks like the people involved in the Masters of Sex production have chosen to film at least part of the show in Brooklyn. You can expect some great 1960’s stylizing. Look forward to it.

10. Masters of Sex is Showtime’s Next Effort Toward HBO-esque Content

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Masters of Sex is Showtime’s new effort to get into the HBO-style programming. As seen in their Emmy winning series, Homeland, you can expect Masters of Sex to break into some gritty material, sexuality and nudity. What else could you really ask for in a TV show?

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