John Corbett, who has been straddling careers as an actor and a musician, will blend the two with a starring opposite Denis Leary in FX‘s music comedy pilot Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll. Written by Leary, the project centers on Johnny …
FX is sticking with Archer for at least another two seasons. Seeing the animated spy series through to 2016 and syndication possibilities, the cable channel today said it has ordered 13 episodes for each of Archer’s’ sixth and seventh seasons. The double pickup comes with a lot of confidence from FX. “Archer is one of the best comedies on television and has played a significant role in the growth of the FX comedy brand,” Eric Schrier, one of the presidents of original programming for FX Networks and FX Productions, said today in a statement. ”We’re grateful to Adam Reed, Matt Thompson and their team at Floyd County, and also our incredible voice cast, and are looking forward to supporting their work for at least two more seasons.” (Archer voice actor H. Jon Benjamin snagged an Outstanding Voice-Over Performance Emmy nom in 2010).
EXCLUSIVE: John Scalzi’s 2012 comedic sci-fi novel Redshirts is headed to the small screen. FX has teamed with veteran feature producer Jon Shestack (Dan In Real Life) and producer-director Ken Kwapis (Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants) and his partner Alexandra Beattie to develop a limited series based on the book, which won the 2013 Hugo Award. Search is underway for writers to pen the adaption, with Kwapis set to direct the opening episode. He, Shestack and Beattie executive produce.
Set in the 25th century, Redshirts follows the adventures of five new recruits on the Starship Intrepid who come to realize that the ship’s crewmembers are dying at an alarming rate. Their investigation leads to the mind-bending discovery that a science fiction television show, produced in the early 21st century, has somehow “intruded” upon their reality and “warped” it. In other words, the lives of the crew are following the course of a television narrative over which they have no control. “Redshirts is a madcap, hyper-meta tale,” Shestack said. Added Kwapis, “If Jorge Luis Borges had been a staff writer on the original Star Trek, he would no doubt have concocted a story like Redshirts.”
FX Networks, which is making a big push in comedy with nine half-hour pilots, has picked up two of them – Married (formerly know as the untitled Andrew Gurland) and You’re The Worst – to series with 10-episode orders for a July debut on the flagship channel FX. “Married and You’re The Worst represent the continuing expansion of our comedy brand. They are smart, funny and adult,” FX’s Nick Grad said. The two shows, from FX Prods., also delve in marriage and romantic relationships, an area FX had largely stayed away from until now, focusing on more male-oriented fare.
FX’s new vampire series The Strain is a “really original re-imagining of vampire lore” that “says something about the precariousness of our modern world” and also about the intersection of “empiricism and religion,” exec producer Carlton Cuse told TV critics this afternoon.
Then he showed critics a clip from the pilot episode.
“I got a massage just watching that,” Cuse tittered when the gore-tastic clip wrapped. Critics, who looked like the clip had had the same effect on them, were disappointed to learn from Cuse that the vampires of The Strain won’t engage in actual sex. That’s because the particular strain of vampire in Chuck Hogan’s novel trilogy on which the series is based sloughs off genitalia – no use for them.
During today’s TCA panel on the new FX drama Tyrant, Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff — who executive produce with Craig Wright — compared the story of an American family drawn into the workings of a turbulent fictional Middle Eastern nation to The Godfather. That is, as much family drama as political thriller. If there is a larger theme to the series, Gordon said, it is, “What does it mean to be a good man?”
After the panel, Gordon addressed recent grumblings that the team’s popular Showtime series Homeland may have veered too far in the “family” direction by playing out the story of Brody’s troubled daughter and her disturbed boyfriend. Gordon said he doesn’t see it that way. That story line, he said, was necessary to show the “collateral damage” to the families of the political story. “I just think people got impatient with it,” Gordon added.
TCA: FX’s ‘Justified’ EP On Final Seasons, Life Without Elmore Leonard & The Late Writer’s Upcoming Tribute
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
UPDATED, 3 PM: There were plenty of plot and story questions about what’s in store for the sprawling ensemble of characters on the FX series Justified at today’s TCA. A few tidbits from EP Graham Yost: “You will see the Harris brothers again. I’m not going to tell you who you’re not going to see again.” The current fifth season will be a big season for the character of Art Mullen (Nick Searcy). In Season 6, expect more on the relationship of Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) and Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts).
But two questions loomed larger: A) Why will the sixth season be the last? and B) What life is like without the late Elmore Leonard, on whose writings the series is based?
First, the final season: “A lot of it was just figuring out how much story we had left,” Yost said. “Our biggest concern telling these stories is that we don’t run out of story and start repeating ourselves. Although there were financial incentives to keep it going, it really felt in terms of the story of Raylon Givens in Kentucky, that six years felt about right.”
UPDATED: The movie world has changed drastically, particularly in the last five or six years,” Billy Bob Thornton said when asked why he’d signed to star, along with Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman, in FX’s first limited series Fargo.
“When I was coming up, if you went to television from film it meant something was wrong…Now it’s the opposite,” Thornton told TV critics at Winter TV Press Tour 2014 for FX’s series inspired by Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 film of same name. The kind of “mid-level movies and higher-budget independent films” Thornton said he and his peers came up in the business making, “that doesn’t exist any more. The motion picture studios make big event movies, and broad comedies, and action movies — and movies where vampires are all models. Television has now taken that spot. For actors who want to do good dramatic work, with dark humor and drama, you have to do it on television. If you want to be a celebrity, then go to the dentist in Beverly Hills and punch somebody,” he quipped — a reference to a reported recent Kanye West encounter with a guy outside a Beverly Hills medical office.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Those who are blasting FX’s new animated series Chozen (which premiered last night) for featuring a gay white rapper (voiced by SNL’s Bobby Moynihan) need to grow a sense of humor, says series’ voice actor Method Man. On today’s TCA panel for Chozen (Moynihan appeared via satellite), Method Man said that he didn’t have “even a second thought about the character” when he signed on for the show. “It didn’t occur to me that there would be a problem, I didn’t react like that.”
When a reporter in the audience pointed out that the show makes fun of hip-hop, the performer grinned. “Absolutely, and that makes me want to do it even more,” he said. “It is making fun of hip-hop, gay people, [everyone].” He blasted rap artists who put themselves on a pedestal: “Got to knock people off their horse now and then,” he said.
Lost ad revenue is the biggest threat to the cable industry, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf told TV critics this morning. Sons Of Anarchy, he noted, averaged more than 5 million demo viewers in Live +7, but only 2 million who watched live and only 3 million who watched the ads. “We need to find new opportunities to mitigate those losses,” he warned. FXNow, an ad-supported on demand service offering FX Networks’ programming, “will allow us to begin rebuilding our advertising business,” Landgraf said.
Also critical: stacking rights, he said. Loosely translated: the rights to make available to viewers all current-season episodes of a series on VOD or authenticated streaming. Those stacking rights are “absolutely vital” he said. “People have been talking about the promise of TV Everywhere for a long time now… It’s been a jerky-jerky process but I’m confident that the industry has achieved the key breakthrough. I think a year or two from now people will really have access to a lot of content.” He noted “ownership of content has bailed us out,” in an evolving advertising universe, acknowleding “It’s a nice thing to have long-tail revenue that undergirds a more volatile thing like advertising sales.”
Landgraf thinks the next season of American Horror Story probably will be another period piece and most of the Coven cast will be back. “Ultimately I’m waiting for Ryan [Murphy] to tell me” what’s going to happen. Other than that, he’s not sure what the next season of one of his most important franchises has in store.