The offbeat comedy that won a writing Emmy in 2012 and scored the first Outstanding Comedy Series nom for a basic cable show finally is heading back to a TV screen near you. There was no Emmy love for FX’s …
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage:
Looking and sounding more relaxed than he has, well, maybe ever, Louis C.K. told a sold-out PaleyFest: Made in NY audience tonight at the Paley Center in New York that his look of renewed vigor is no illusion. “I’m feeling a huge amount more energy,” C.K. said, explaining that it’s the result of his having taken a year off from his Emmy-nominated FX comedy Louie. The reigning comic’s comic — widely considered to have the most creative freedom of perhaps any human in television history – made the commitment to take a 12-month sabbatical “for the good of the show. I didn’t want to start making the show with diminishing returns.” He stressed that as his show’s writer, producer, director, editor and star, he would be juggling so many balls that he’d turned in some episodes “that I knew weren’t good enough. It had been kind of a nightmare. We took a year off to kind of hit the reset button.”
So now for the fourth season of the critical smash Louie that he just began shooting, the pace of production will be far more leisurely. “We usually start shooting in February for that year’s show, and we’re four months ahead this time. So we have much, much more time.” The entire season now will be in the can when it returns to the air next spring. But at the same time, C.K. is – by his standards – taking his time. “We have 60 shooting days this year; we usually do 48,” he said. “I feel like we’re doing it a lot smarter, besides finally having the luxury of time.”
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
With every passing year, it becomes tougher for a winning show like ABC’s Modern Family to take home the biggest Emmy prize. Family is trying to win its fourth consecutive series statuette, something that NBC’s 30 Rock couldn’t manage after winning three in a row from 2007-09. Standing in the show’s way this time is a formidable quintet headed by FX’s Louie as well as 30 Rock, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (trying to win for the first time in its third nomination) and a pair of one-word HBO longshots: Veep and Girls. It’s noteworthy that the show that could perhaps have given Family the most trouble, the Netflix reboot of Arrested Development, failed even to land a nomination. However, cable series earned three of the six category slots.
Related: EMMYS: Drama Series Overview
This season was chock-full of special moments, including one in which Sheldon (Jim Parsons) spanks Amy (Mayim Bialik) and another featuring a guest appearance by Bob Newhart. Upsets happen, and you just never know. It’s tough for a show to win for the first time in its sixth season. Too tough, in this case. It’s tougher still for a series from the stable of creator Chuck Lorre, who gets less respect than he should as one of television’s most successful producers.
EMMYS Analysis: Web Series Become Major Contenders Via Netflix, ‘Louie’ Scores Series Nom, Broadcast’s Drama Drought Continues
Six years after the TV Academy changed its rules to allow online series to compete in the Emmy race alongside traditional shows, series that have not aired on broadcast or cable TV made it to the top categories for the first time. Leading the breakthrough is streaming giant Netflix with House Of Cards, which landed 9 nominations, including best drama series and best actor/actress for Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, and Arrested Development, with a best actor nom for Jason Bateman. Netflix, which scored a total of 12 noms vs. none last year, employed some non-traditional Emmy campaign tactics, including lawn signs and a BBQ food truck. This marks Bateman’s second nomination for his starring role on the cult comedy eight years after he was first nominated for the series’ second season on Fox. But while the comedy earned best series noms for each of its three seasons on Fox, this time around it missed the cut in the top category.
Related: EMMYS: 2013 Scorecard By Show
Meanwhile, FX’s Louie continued its awards momentum with its first best series nom. Over the past year, Louis C.K.’s edgy comedy landed its first Emmy in September, then first SAG, Golden Globe and PGA nominations and the top comedy prize at the WGA Awards. Now Louie, which is on a prolonged hiatus, netted its most Emmy nominations, six, including third consecutive noms for lead actor Louis C.K., and writing, a category won by Louis C.K. last year; as well as second nom for directing, also for Louis C.K. The stand-up comedian/Renaissance man, who writes, directs, acts and edits, surpassed his record of seven Emmy nominations last year, landing as many individual noms this year spread over Louie, his HBO special Oh My God and his hosting duties on Saturday Night Live, plus a best series mention for Louie, on which he serves as executive producer.
PGA Awards‘ weird eligibility window on the TV side made for another field with an outdated feel, like the comedy series nomination for HBO‘s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which has not aired originals for the past year and a half. The PGA Awards follow the Primetime Emmys calendar despite taking place six months later, honoring programs that aired between June 1, 2011-May 31, 2012.
With that in mind, there were only minimal surprises in the series nominations this year, most notably the omission of HBO’s freshman comedies Girls and Veep and last year’s best drama series winner Boardwalk Empire. Modern Family has a shot at a third consecutive PGA Award with another best comedy series nom alongside returning nominees 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory as well as FX‘s Louie. This extends Louie‘s momentum. After largely flying under the radar for the first two seasons, the series’ third season earned a first Emmy award in September, its first SAG and Golden Globe nominations last month and now a first PGA nomination. Missing the cut this time are last year’s nominees Parks & Recreation and Glee, though Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk landed a TV movie/miniseries nom for the first season of American Horror Story.
FX and Louis CK are pushing the pause button on the comedian’s acclaimed comedy series Louie. During a conference call today, FX president John Landgraf and Louis CK announced that, instead of next summer, the upcoming fourth season of the comedy series will premiere in Spring 2014 to give Louis CK more time for prep work.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
With seven Emmy nominations, Louis C.K. just broke the record for most noms for an individual in a single Emmy year — coming for both his …
Anthony D’Alessandro is managing editor/contributor to AwardsLine.
It would be an understatement to credit Louis C.K. as another stand-up who has redefined situation comedy like Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. C.K. isn’t just making funny TV every week in Louie as a single New York City father. He’s revolutionizing it with an anthology of exceptional short films. After pushing the boundaries of multi-camera comedy on HBO with Lucky Louie, C.K.’s latest show on FX serves as an evolution to the festival and Showtime short films he created throughout the ’90s: The black-and-white jazz mockumentary The Legend of Willie Brown, the Elia Kazan-esque Ice Cream and the Depression-era talkie sendup Hello There to name a few. These bellwethers laid out the themes that C.K. harps on in Louie: Man’s challenge to conform to socially acceptable roles (i.e. not asking 19-year-olds out on dates as C.K. did in the episode ‘Duckling’) and the absurdity of urban life gone awry (accidentally tossing a lunatic vagrant into oncoming traffic in ‘Bummer/Blueberries’). The TV Academy is already more than OK with C.K. having lauded Louie last year with Emmy noms for comedy writing and lead actor.
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
AWARDSLINE: How did the opportunity arise to do another half hour comedy series on cable?
LOUIS C.K.: After HBO I went on the road and just concentrated on stand-up where I filled up big theaters. [Soon after] I was asked [by network executives] if I wanted to have a show again. [FX president] John Landgraf easily had the most penetrating pitch. John offered me $200,000 which was 1% of what everyone else was offering. I said ‘I’ll do this if you give me the money and I make the show without you knowing what it’s about. I’ll do it in New York City and direct it myself without any involvement financially and creatively from FX. He said ‘For a pilot, that’s not a bad bet.’
Seconds after the Producers Guild announced the TV series nominations for its 2012 awards, commenters started asking in disbelief: Where is Breaking Bad? Indeed, the acclaimed AMC drama was conspicuously missing from the PGA Award nominations. Underscoring what appeared like a baffling omission, the WGA announced its TV series nominations minutes later, and Breaking Bad led the pack with three nominations. But while their ceremonies are only a month apart in January-February, the PGA Awards and WGA Awards’ eligibility windows vary wildly, leading to the puzzling discrepancies.
Greg Daniels, The Office (NBC)
Why He Was Nominated: Being nominated for Emmys is simply what Daniels does. He’s reeled in 19 Emmy nominations all told, including three in this category and three noms this year alone. He’s won here once before, in 2007 for the celebrated “Gay Witch Hunt” episode of The Office. And Daniels has five Emmy trophies to his credit all told, also including previous wins for King of the Hill, The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live.
Why He Has To Win: In earning a nomination for star Steve Carell’s final episode, Daniels becomes something of a prohibitive favorite to win for writing, particularly since he’s already taken one home here previously. The super-sized episode, “Goodbye, Michael,” was heavily hyped by NBC and exceptionally well-received by viewers and the industry. “Greg did a terrific job of walking the line between comedy and sentiment,” one producer told me, “which was quite a feat.”
Why He Can’t Possibly Win: Sentiment doesn’t always go over so big with the TV academy crowd, whether talking about shows or individuals. Voters could well also figure that giving an overdue Emmy to Carell for acting is plenty and need not adorn the farewell with coattails. Plus, there are a couple of other exceedingly worthy contenders here, like a particularly buzzed episode of Modern Family.
Comedian Louis C.K. finds himself an overnight sensation after 25 years in the biz. Now he’s earned four Emmy nominations for writing and acting on his critically praised FX comedy Louie as well as for writing and editing his stand-up special Louis C.K.: Hilarious for EPIX premium cable channel. But best of all, C.K. (a play on his last name Szekely) is widely hailed by his peers as the gold standard in stand-up. He spoke with Deadline TV Contributor Ray Richmond:
DEADLINE: How does it feel for Ricky Gervais to call you ‘The Funniest Stand-up Working In America’ or Chris Rock refer to you as ‘The Greatest Comic Mind Of The Last Quarter Century’?
LOUIS C.K.: It’s nice to hear, but also a little weird, you know? You can’t buy into any of it. Hearing it doesn’t make me better at anything and probably does the opposite. Plus, you know it’s all going to go away. No one is permanently chiseled onto anything. I’ve been doing this for 25 years and have been up and down a lot. You get hot for a while, then it turns right around. I remember doing the Young Comedians Special in Aspen in 1995 and that was the first time where I felt like I was on some kind of a roll. The lesson I took away was not to take any of it too seriously. Keep it in perspective.
DEADLINE: But you just took in more Emmy nominations than any other performer this year.
C.K.: Well yeah, the Emmy thing, that’s just crazy. I was honestly expecting nothing. Actually that’s not entirely true. I thought maybe I’d get something for writing the special. But the nominations for the FX series, I had no idea these voters were even aware of it. Yet now that it’s out there, I see it as an opportunity. And I’m doing all I can to try to win. It’s hugely important to me.
C.K.: Because winning hopefully helps to give the show a deeper foothold, and I start making some money for FX. I want to put cash in Rupert Murdoch’s coffers that are otherwise laying dormant. Emmys would give FX a payoff for having given me this gift of a show. I want the establishment to tell John Landgraf that he did the right thing, and that he should let me keep doing it. That’s what the Emmy is for me. I personally don’t need it. I’ve already won. It would also reward all of the amazing crew people who work so hard making Louie what it is and maybe give the crew job security and Landgraf even more credibility. I just want to bring any benefit to that guy that I can. So basically, I see the Emmys as a slot machine that pays off in reverse.
FX has renewed three comedy series. Elijah Wood starrer Wilfred, which has become the highest-rated first-season comedy on the network with a cumulative 5 million viewers a week, has been picked up a second season of 13 episodes. Louie, which just landed an Emmy nomination for star Louis CK and has averaged 3 million viewers a week, has been renewed for a third season of 13 episodes. Meanwhile, veteran It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia has been renewed for two more seasons — Seasons 8 and 9 — to become the longest-running live-action comedy on basic cable. The network also has an option for a 10th season, FX president John Landgraf said, adding that the show seems to have gotten a second wind in Season 7. Additionally, FX Prods. has signed a three-year exclusive deal with RCG, the production company of Sunny masterminds Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton. I hear the deal is worth $40 million-$50 million for all services. “With Sunny, FX and FX Prods. and RCG reinvented the production model for television comedies,” Landgraf said. “In embracing a low‑cost production model and taking less money upfront, Rob, Glenn, and Charlie were afforded more creative freedom, a true financial partnership, and less pressure on ratings so there was time to let the show find an audience. Sunny not only became a hit, but the cornerstone of FX’s successful comedy brand, establishing a production model that has become favored by many in the creative community and has led to Archer, Louie, The League and Wilfred.” In addition to Sunny, RCG is involved in the new CBS comedy series How To Be a Gentleman, created by and starring Sunny player David Hornsby, and has two comedy projects in the works: Fox’s Living Loaded and FX’s animated Townies.
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 …