With delayed viewers factored in, the gross audience for HBO‘s buzzy new drama series True Detective starring Matthew McConaughy and Woody Harrelson has risen to 11.9 million viewers per episode, making it the most-watched first-year series in HBO’s history. True …
EMMYS: John Landgraf Calls For Tougher Category Rules, Says ‘True Detective’s Entry As Drama Series “Unfair”
FX Networks CEO John Landgraf today threw his hat in the debate over what constitutes a drama series and a miniseries for Emmy consideration and whether an hourlong series can enter as a comedy, challenging the TV Academy to stiffen its criteria and create stricter category guidelines.
FX anthology series American Horror Story shook up the Emmy landscape three years ago when it opted to submit itself as a miniseries, not a drama series. The race was jolted again this year when HBO’s True Detective took the opposite stance, identifying itself as a drama series. “In our minds this is a series, and the only reason to enter it as a miniseries was a cynical reason that didn’t feel like the right thing to do,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Deadline last week.
Landgraf today defended the network’s decision to submit AHS as a miniseries, objected to HBO’s decision to have True Detective compete as drama series, and called on the TV Academy to better define its categories. “I don’t think it’s cynical to enter AHS as a miniseries,” he said. “I don’t look at it that way. The definition should be a miniseries has a story that ends, a series has a story that continues on.” Landgraf argued that limited series have the advantage to attract bigger-caliber actors, like True Detective‘s Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as well as Billy Bob Thornton who toplines FX’s limited series Fargo. “It’s unfair for HBO to get actors that you can’t normally get to do a series who would do a close-ended show and pack the (drama actor) category. That is patently unfair to people like (The Americans’) Matthew Rhys who signed for seven years.” Right now, TV Academy defines shows like AHS and True Detective as having “dual eligibility,” with the series producers left to decide in which of the two categories they are eligible for they would compete.
More than a week after HBO announced that its buzzy True Detective will compete as a drama series at the Emmys, shaking up the drama race as a potential frontrunner, the decision is still a hot topic of conversation, with pundits debating whether the eight-episode series, created by Nic Pizzolatto and starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, belongs in the drama or miniseries category. The latest to weigh in was Mad Men creator Matt Weiner. “I was surprised they did it but I bet that everyone who is in that Drama category said ‘oh s***’,” he told Deadline‘s Pete Hammond. “That makes me think HBO did the right thing.”
HBO had not commented on its Emmy category choice for True Detective until now. Here is what the network’s programming president Michael Lombardo had to say about it. “This project was pitched to us, it was produced by us and marketed by us as a series. Nic never thought of this as a miniseries, and we always treated him as a creator of a series. In our minds this is a series, and the only reason to enter it as a miniseries was a cynical reason that didn’t feel like the right thing to do.”
One of the most intriguing questions of this year’s Emmy season has been answered, with HBO‘s buzzy True Detective opting to compete as a drama series. The project, created by Nic Pizzolatto and starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, was sold and done as an eight-episode limited series, which easily would’ve qualified it as a miniseries. FX’s anthology series American Horror Story, which airs 13-episode installments, started off in the drama series category at the 2012 Golden Globes before switching to longform for the 2012 Emmy Awards. It has competed as a miniseries ever since and has been dominant in Emmy nominations, landing 17 last year. The drama field is far more competitive and tough as PBS’ Downton Abbey found out after switching from miniseries to drama series after Season 1. Still, winning a drama series Emmy has a big cachet to it. Plus, True Detective does employ drama series storytelling techniques. But an entry as a miniseries would’ve pretty much guaranteed the moody Louisiana series a dominant performance and a slew of trophies. Now it will go against the final installment of AMC’s Breaking Bad among other drama heavyweights. With the TV Academy restoring separate best TV movie and best miniseries categories and True Detective not entering as mini, the longform field has a lot of room this year. Ryan Murphy is behind top contenders on both sides — film The Normal Heart and mini AHS. With the slew of event series put in the pipeline by the networks not slated to premiere until after the end of this year’s eligibility period (Fox’s 24: Live Another Day, for example, debuts in May and won’t qualify for 2014 Emmys), AHS‘ top competitor will likely be FX’s Fargo.
‘True Detective’ Creator Nic Pizzolatto Signs New Overall Deal With HBO, Paving Way For Season 2 Of Breakout Drama
EXCLUSIVE: When HBO landed eight-episode drama True Detective in a bidding war two years ago, the pay cable network signed an overall deal with the project’s creator, novelist Nic Pizzolatto. The bet paid off, with the series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson garnering critical praise and solid ratings. Now HBO has inked a new two-year overall deal with Pizzolatto, who is working on a second season of True Detective. I hear he is currently preparing a draft to present to HBO executives who are expected to proceed with a Season 2 given the performance of the first installment whose premiere was HBO’s most watched series debut in more than three years and has garnered 7.7 million viewers to date on various platforms. This marks a very fast rise for Pizzolatto who only left academia, where he taught fiction and literature, to pursue writing full-time in 2010 and had only one TV credit, a staff writer job on AMC’s The Killing, before writing True Detective on spec.
It may be the ultimate anti-buddy show, but True Detective stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were in full bromance mode today in Pasadena. “I love Matthew, my brother, a phenomenal amazing person,” said Harrelson of his co-star. “Woody and I, part of why we’re friends is that we get on each other’s frequencies,” added McConaughey. Amidst much laughter and in-jokes, the actors were joined on the TCA stage at the first of HBO‘s panels by Michelle Monaghan, who plays Harrelson’s character’s wife; EP/writer Nic Pizzolatto; and EP/director Cary Fukunaga. “I love Michelle,” Harrelson said. “I’ve known her many many years. Cary’s a terrific director, and Nic wrote this amazing script I couldn’t put down.”
Set to debut on Sunday, the eight-episode series stars McConaughey and Harrelson as Louisiana state police detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart. The two are partnered up in the mid-1990s on what appears to be an occult-themed serial killer case. True Detective toggles between 1995 and modern day as two contemporary detectives reopen the case of almost 20 years beforehand. Under that dark premise, the antagonistic relationship between McConaughey’s Cohle (a former undercover narcotics cop suffering from hallucinations, social disconnection and an obsessive sense of duty) and Harrelson’s Hart (a hard-drinking philanderer but more by-the-book officer) makes up the heart of the show. “I can’t imagine anyone playing that part better,” said Harrelson of McConaughey. “It was different than any other part I’ve seen him play before, and he knocked it out of the park.” Still, McConaughney rejected the idea of doing more episodes. “It’s contained, that’s it,” he responded to a question from the audience.
‘Texas Chainsaw’s Alexandra Daddario, ‘Twilight Saga’s Elizabeth Reaser, 2 ‘Wire’ Alums Join New HBO Series ‘True Detective’
EXCLUSIVE: Alexandra Daddario, star of the recent No.1 movie Texas Chainsaw 3D, Elizabeth Reaser, co-star of the blockbuster Twilight Saga franchise and The Wire alums Wood Harris and Michael Potts have joined the cast of True Detective, HBO‘s upcoming eight-episode drama series starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. The project is described as an elevated serial narrative with multiple perspectives and time frames. It centers on two detectives, Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Harrelson), whose lives collide and entwine during a 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana.
Michelle Monaghan Set As Female Lead In HBO’s Matthew McConaughey-Woody Harrelson Drama Series ‘True Detective’
Michelle Monaghan (Eagle Eye) is set to star opposite Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in True Detective, HBO‘s upcoming eight-episode drama, which has a straight-to-series order. The high-concept project is descried as an elevated serial narrative with multiple perspectives and time frames. It centers on two detectives, Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Harrelson), whose lives collide and entwine during a 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. The investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 is framed and interlaced with testimony from the detectives in 2012, when the case has been reopened. Monaghan will play the female lead, Maggie Hart, the wife of Martin Hart (Harrelson), a woman who makes a hard decision that has long-reaching and devastating consequences.