It was a risky proposition, but Noah Hawley’s take on the Coen brothers classic Fargo was deemed a critical success, landing 18 Emmy nominations, and it drew a sizable total audience when time-shifted viewing and encores are factored in. Not surprisingly, FX is ordering a second 10-episode installment, with Hawley back as writer/executive producer for MGM TV and FX Prods. The new chapter of the Fargo story will feature an all-new cast of characters, a brand new cast, a new time period and a new “true crime” story, and it may be filmed in the same location in Calgary. “Noah’s audacious, bordering on hubristic riff on my favorite Coen brothers film earned 18 Emmy nominations – the most for a single program in our history,” FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. While Ryan Murphy has been using a core group of actors in multiple installments of American Horror Story, “Fargo demands a different level of realism, and we felt we couldn’t introduce these actors as new characters.”
Meanwhile, it was a long wait for Season 4 of Louis C.K.’s comedy series Louie but Season 5 is expected to arrive in time, albeit in an abbreviated form. FX has renewed Louie for a fifth season, which will consist of seven episodes — half the size of Season 4 — to premiere in spring 2015. “Louie’s fourth season was once again groundbreaking. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking — always thought provoking,” said … Read More »
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 Louie last year, however, because the cable net said in October 2012 that series was taking a year off. But today FX said Season 4 of the acclaimed series will premiere May 5 with back-to-back new episodes. The network ordered a 13-episode season of the single-camera show, but series creator-director-writer-star Louis C.K. delivered a 14th. In announcing the hiatus in 2012, he and FX President John Landgraf referred to the first three seasons of Louie as the first act of a trilogy, with Louis C.K. noting he hoped the show could go to nine seasons. The multihyphenate has kept busy during the series’ time off, inking an overall deal with FX Productions in December, co-writing a comedy with Zach Galifianakis that FX ordered to pilot in January; touring with his stand-up acts and offering $5 downloads of an old indie pic he did way back in 1998. He also has been tapped for a voice role in Illumination Entertainment’s untitled Pets Movie and is set to host Saturday Night Live for a second time March 29.
Related: NY PaleyFest: Louis C.K. Sounds Off
FX Networks is making it clear it wants to stay in the Louis CK business. The network already has Louis CK’s acclaimed comedy series Louie, produced by FX Productions. Now FX Prods. has inked an overall deal with Louis CK and his company Pig Newton to develop and produce new series. The agreement is separate from Louie, which this year earned ad-supported cable’s first best comedy series Emmy nomination. It returns for Season 4 in May 2014. The new series under the overall pact, Louis CK’s first, will be created or supervised by Louis CK, who would have the option to write or direct any of them and will executive produce. Blair Breard, an executive producer on Louie, would also serve as a producer or executive producer, with 3 Arts Entertainment attached as producers. Louis CK already is a Renaissance man, writing, directing, editing and starring in his shows. Now he will add a new role — guiding other creators as they get their projects off the ground. “Working with Louis CK has been one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of my career,” said John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions. “So many incredibly talented artists want to work with Louis and follow down the independent and idiosyncratic creative trail he has blazed. I can’t wait to see who he brings through our door, not to mention any new projects that he wants … Read More »
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.”
Related: ’101 Best Written TV Series Of All Time’ From WGA/TV Guide
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.” Read More »
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
THE BIG BANG THEORY
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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 acclaimed FX series Louie along with a stand-up special. He broke the record held previously by David Lynch for Twin Peaks. At an appearance at TCA this morning via satellite from Albany, NY he called the record “bittersweet” because he’s such a huge fan of Lynch. But at the same time, he said he felt that records are more of a sports thing and that “with creative and television and writing, it’s kind of silly a little bit. But it’s really nice to get FX a whole bunch of nominations. That’s what’s nice for me.” C.K. is known to have the greatest deal for a performer perhaps in television history, doing writing, performing, directing, and editing on Louie as well as having a hand in picking the music. He mentioned Chris Rock as someone else with the skill set to pull off doing what he does on his half-hour. The best part of having his deal is that not every one of the stories within the structure of his series has to be 22 minutes — or, if there are two, exactly 11 minutes. “That’s one … Read More »
At the top of its TCA executive session, FX‘s president John Landgraf announced that the network has renewed acclaimed comedy series Louie for a 13-episode fourth season. Additionally, it has ordered seven more episodes of Russell Brand‘s late-night show BrandX, which Landgraf said will undergo creative changes. As for comedy series Wilfred, which is up 12% this season, Landgraf said he feels “optimistic” about a renewal, noting that that a deal on that is still being hammered out.
Related: Russell Brand Says ‘BrandX’ Will Become More “Conventional”
On the development front, the network has ordered The Bridge, a drama pilot based on the Scandinavian series Bron. The original series, created by Hans Rosenfeldt, follows a police investigation following the discovery of a dead body on the bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden. In the U.S. version, written by Cold Case creator Meredith Stiehm and fellow Cold Case writer Elwood Reid, two detectives from the United States and Mexico must work together to hunt down a serial killer operating on both sides of the border after a dead body is found on the bridge connecting El Paso and Juarez. The project hails from Shine America, marking Elizabeth Murdoch company’s first scripted financing effort as it moves from solely producing under the Reveille banner to financing and packaging projects on an opportunistic basis. Shine will co-produce The Bridge with FX Prods. and will distribute internationally. Stiehm and Reid executive produce with Carolyn Bernstein, … Read More »
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.’ Read More »
‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Modern Family’, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ & ‘Homeland’ Lead WGA TV Noms
‘Modern Family’, ‘Big Bang’, ‘Parks & Rec’, ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘Mad Men’ Among PGA Award Series Nominees
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. Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2011 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Comedy Series Writer race.
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
FX’s summer lineup has been set, with the new original comedy Wilfred, starring Elijah Wood and Jason Gann, debuting on Thursday, June 23 at 10 PM. A pair of returning series also have dates: Season 2 of Louie will return on June 23 at 10:30 PM, and Rescue Me returns for its final season on Tuesday, July 12 at 10 PM.
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 »