Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadine’s TCA coverage.
Six episodes. Twenty days. That was the decidedly accelerated time frame of shooting last year on the FX fantasy football comedy The League, admitted co-creator Jeff Schaffer at a panel promoting the show’s second season premiere (it has 13 episodes this time) in September. But his wife and collaborator, Jackie Schaffer, added that when it comes to the numbers, the two are much more attuned to the production schedule than the ratings, “We’d try to figure out the ratings by reading the faces of the people at FX, or their tone of voice when they’d call us on Friday morning. That seemed to work for us.”
It worked well enough to get the series renewed despite the incredulous reactions Jeff Schaffer would get when he told people he produced a series about fantasy league football — and a partially-scripted, semi-improvised one at that. “There are shows about people who bake cakes and shows about people who drive trucks on icy roads,” said Schaffer, who is also a writer-producer on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. “I don’t know anyone who drives a truck in the Yukon, but I know a lot of guys who play fantasy football — me included.” In order to appreciate his show, Schaffer reasons, “you don’t need to know anything about fantasy football or even sports. You just need to have friends you hate.”
Jackie Schaffer said she believes one of the factors that generated an audience for The League and stoked its … Read More »
UPDATED: At the opening of FX’s executive session, president John Landgraf announced a 13-episode second season pickup of Louis C.K.’s new comedy series Louie five weeks into the show’s freshman run. Additionally, FX has greenlighted Alabama, a comedy pilot co-created and starring Reno 911! masterminds Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. The pilot is set a thousand years in the future, aboard the United Nations peacekeeping spaceship: The USS Alabama. It follows the crew, who are in the sixth year of the their seven-year mission to maintain peace and enforce treaties between planets in their jurisdiction. Garant and Lennon are executive producing the FX Prods.-produced pilot with Peter Principato and Paul Young. It reunited Garant and Lennon with Landgraf who served as an exec producer on Reno.
During the Q&A portion, Ladgraf also “broke” news related to sibling broadcast network Fox. Mixing together the two subjects that had been taboo at the ABC (Steve McPherson’s resignation) and Fox (judge changes on American Idol) TCA presentations over the past two days, Landgraf said: “(Fox entertainment chairman) Peter Rice told me I could deny that Steve McPherson is becoming a judge of American Idol.”
Landgraf was asked to define the difference between a broadcast and cable drama series. ”There are 13 episodes a season for a cable series, 22 for a broadcast series. I’m not sure if there is any other distinction,” he said. But don’t expect FX to gradually morph into a network with a broadcast-size slate of original series. While FX has been rapidly expanding its series … Read More »