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.” READ MORE »
FX is turning up the heat as Emmy voting kicks into high gear with a large campaign war chest designed to show off their prime contenders American Horror Story, which leads all shows with a whopping 17 nominations in the movie/miniseries categories, and Louiewhich nabbed 6 nods including Best Comedy Series. Last Friday FX and Fox TV threw a summer barbeque and cast and crew conversation on the Fox lot for American Horror Story Asylum, and last night FX rented out the TV Academy’s Goldenson Theatre for a screening of Louie and a rollicking on-stage conversation with Louis C.K. and moderator, comedian David Steinberg. The place was packed to the rafters, presumably with Emmy voters though in this phase of voting members sign up for specific panels and at-home viewing, so exactly how many of the 600 or so who crowded into the theatre can actually help the Emmy chances of Louie is questionable.
None of that seems to matter to FX President John Landgraf who told me at the lavish post-reception the hefty outlay of funds for billboards, trade and newspaper ads and events like this is worth it, not only because they might be hitting some of those relatively few mystery voters (he estimates there could be about 1000-plus who vote for Best Comedy Series) but also to make a public and industry statement that FX is indeed a major player now in the Emmys and proud of their shows. Certainly AHS which also nabbed 17 nominations last year too and Louie would seem to confirm that. Incidentally FXX, the brand new spinoff network is the broadcast partner for the Academy’s Creative Arts Primetime Emmy show this year and Landgraf is glad they landed it. Read More »
Last night’s Saturday Night Live hosted by comedian Louis C.K. with musical guest Fun averaged a 5.0/12 in the metered-market households, matching the show’s second-highest overnights so far this season. In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, SNL posted … Read More »
Louis C.K. dropped in on Jimmy Fallon’s show last night to talk about his hosting Saturday Night Live tomorrow. He also offered a typically blunt message for Hurricane Sandy for the storm’s devastation of New York City.
His comments about Saturday Night Live are on the jump. 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 »
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.
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 »
In 2001, Louis C.K. hit a low when his first studio feature, Pootie Tang, which he wrote and directed, bombed. A decade later the stand-up comedian cannot be hotter, with his FX series Louie enjoying critical and commercial success. But the two are strangely related, Louis C.K. said today during the TCA session for Louie.
“Pootie Tang was a huge mistake, it should have never have been made,” he said. “That experience was very painful, I was sucking at making the movie and got fired off of it, and they put my name on it anyway…. But failing at Pootie Tang is one of the reasons for why this show is good. The army of failures I’ve had are the reasons that I’m good at what I’m doing now.” That army included Louis C.K.’s previous series, Lucky Louie on HBO. “Information you gain from having a season of television that failed on Lucky Louie is incredibly valuable,” he said. Still, given his track record, Louis C.K. admits he would’ve hired himself. “If I was FX, I wouldn’t have given me what they gave me.” What the network gave him was free reign, and he wouldn’t have had in any other way. “If they won’t let me do a show the way I want it to be done, I won’t do it,” Louis C.K. said. “I don’t need it. I can go on the road and do comedy. I don’t need this shit.” Read More »
In between juggling five series — Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show and the upcoming Flintstones and Cosmos reboots — his first feature and emceeing duties at the Comedy Central roasts, Seth MacFarlane is fostering a budding music career. And tonight, the uber TV producer earned two Grammy nominations. One was for a song from Family Guy, Christmastime Is Killing Us, which he co-wrote, in the Best Song Written For Visual Media category. It was the only song from a TV show to make the cut. The other nod was an even bigger surprise: MacFarlane’s debut album as a singer, Music Is Better Than Words, was nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album alongside heavyweights Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett and Harry Connick Jr. and international sensation Susan Boyle. I think it is safe to say that this is the first time MacFarlane’s name has been mentioned in the same sentence as Ms. Streisand. (Below is a snippet from one of MacFarlane’s sold-out live performances of Music Is Better Than Words, which was turned into an EPIX special.) Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2011 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Lead Comedy Series Actor race.
Steve Carell, The Office NBC Why He Was Nominated: It’s Carell’s sixth consecutive nomination for his role as the dunderheaded Michael Scott on The Office, and his departure from the NBC comedy this past spring spawned a big-time farewell. Credit network marketing as well as the fact Carell has wide popularity throughout the industry. You get the feeling that he could have stayed on this show for 15 years and been nominated every time. Why He Has To Win: It literally is now or never, and Carell’s submission for the Emmy (his swan song, “Goodbye, Michael”) was a potent blend of pathos, tears and mirth that also generated a nod for writer/exec producer Greg Daniels’ teleplay. If that isn’t enough, there’s the feeling that Carell’s body of work on a show that began life as a warmed-over imitation of the British edition deserves a golden sendoff. “Carell didn’t try to squirm out of his TV contract even after becoming a feature guy,” a writer and academy member notes. “That scores big points.” Historically, both Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City) and Michael J. Fox (Spin City) have won trophies on their final lap. Why He Can’t Possibly Win: Well, he hasn’t taken the thing home in five previous tries, so it’s possible Carell simply has a big “Bridesmaid” tattoo etched on his forehead. The Office is also seen as having lingered a bit too long at the dance by some. It’s possible that he already blew his best shot here: when the series earned top comedy honors in 2006. And sentiment doesn’t always carry the day, as the perpetually passed-over John Goodman (0-for-7 for Roseanne) could attest. 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) “Goodbye Michael” 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.
DEADLINE: Why? 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 »
His eponymous FX comedy may have been snubbed in the best comedy series category, but comedian Louis C.K. still managed to become the most nominated person at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards with four noms, sharing the honors with The Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Louis C.K. was nominated in the lead comedy actor category for his role on FX’s Louie, in the writing for comedy series category for penning the Poker/Divorce episode of the show, as well as in two Variety, Music or Comedy special categories for his Epix comedy special Louis C.K.: Hilarious — for writing and for editing. Three of Schaffer and Taccone’s four nominations were in the Original Music and Lyrics category, in which The Lonely Island’s Schaffer, Taccone and Andy Samberg have a regular presence, often in tandem with Justin Timberlake, having won an Emmy together for Dick In a Box. This year, Saturday Night Live is completely dominating the category with four of the six nominations: three for Schaffer, Taccone and Samberg’s digital music videos I Just Have Sex, Jack Sparrow and their latest collaboration with Timberlake, 3-Way, and one for the song from host Timberlake’s opening monologue. Schaffer and Taccone’s fourth Emmy nomination is in the writing for VMC series category for their staff-writing duties on SNL.Read More »