FX at TCAs: Fargo Has a Premiere Date, Louis C.K. and Zach Galifianakis Are Writing a Pilot Together, and More


Hello again from a very dark and overly air-conditioned hotel ballroom at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour! Today's presentations belong to FX, and the network kicked off the morning with an "executive session" from network president John Landgraf, one of the best programming brains in the business. Just as I did yesterday after our session with Fox boss Kevin Reilly, I've compiled some of the highlights, "notes and quotes"-style.


On his future plans for new series across both FX and FXX, including a comedy pilot from Louis C.K. and Zach Galifianakis:

We're "running a marathon, not a sprint," and more original programming is on the way. Landgraf noted that last year, when FX Networks announced the launch of FXX, the company promised not to just spread out the shows it already had. "This year's gonna be our best and most expansive year ever for both comedy and drama," he said. Just today, the network announced its order of a new comedy pilot to be co-written by Zach Galifianakis and Louis C.K. We don't have any details—as in zero, zilch, nado—regarding what the show will be about, but Galifianakis will star. The network currently has 12 comedy pilots in production, and Landgraf expects "to announce several new comedy series orders in the coming weeks."


On when Louie will be back for Season 4:

May of this year! No exact date yet, however. 


On Fargo, which now has a premiere date of Tuesday, April 15 at 10pm on FX:

"It's one of the best things we've ever done," Landgraf said. It's a "closed-end" story, and future seasons would feature new casts and plots, just like American Horror Story. Fargo stars Sherlock's Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard (FX's version of the William H. Macy character from the 1996 film), and during Landgraf's panel, we got to peek at some of the footage. It looks great, so here's hoping there will be an official trailer soon!


On why Justified will end in 2015, after six seasons:

"I would have liked to have had more Justified," Landgraf said. "Justified is one of my favorite shows, I just really love it personally." But series creator Graham Yost and series star/executive producer Timothy Olyphant felt the arc of the show "would be better served" with six seasons, not seven, and so "I regretfully accepted their decision. ... We've tried not to make business drive creative," either by extending a show beyond its lifespan or cutting it short. (Note that Justified isn't officially renewed for Season 6 yet, but if I were a betting gal, I'd go all-in on that announcement coming out soon rather than later.)


On why The Bridge got a second season:

Landgraf noted that ratings-wise, The Americans and The Bridge performed almost exactly the same. And after promising that The Americans will be even better in Season 2, he acknowledged that The Bridge wasn't as strong in its first season as it possibly could've been: "I think there were some really strong elements to the show last year," but I think there were some elements that weren't as strong as I thought." But he has faith that the show could still go somewhere great, asserting that "if you have a reason to believe that a show is on a great creative threshold, you oughta renew it."


On Ryan Murphy's creative control over American Horror Story:

Murphy "has virtual carte blanche right now," Landgraf said. We "still read every script and watch every rough cut, but we don't have much input." As for Murphy's plans for Season 4, "I think it'll probably be a period piece, again, I don't think it will be contemporary," and "I know most of the current cast will return," but "I'm waiting for Ryan to tell me."


On his general approach of giving series creators control over their shows:

When asked—in response to what he said about Murphy and AHS—whether it's perhaps a bit dangerous to let show creators work freely without someone to reign them in, so to speak, Landgraf responded, "I think it is a little dangerous, I think it kind of excites me. It depends on who it is. I don't think Louis [C.K.] needs my input, I think he's fine without it. ... It's not as if I don't feel like I could ask Louis or Ryan to do something and they would not do it. They do their thing, and they do it well."


On his overall programming strategy:

Landgraf said he knows that not all of FX's series may be for everyone, but that's kind of the point: "Clearly, those shows are great for somebody. Make them really good for somebody, not pretty good for everybody."


Comments (25)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Louis C.K. writing for himself, awesome. Louis C.K. writing for others, awful. Zach Galifianakis can be funny but he has no filter on when to turn it off so he takes it too far.

Should have thrown more money at Graham Yost.

I like that Landgraf knows the secret to quality: hire smart creators, and try to get out of their way. And he doubles down on that with knowing that making quality for a niche audience is better than a broad one. That's how TV and movies used to be made. Goddamn I wish this guy was running Siffy as well.
Reply
Flag
oh wow, now i have a crush on this guy
2
Reply
Flag
I was seriously questioning the idea of making Fargo into a series until I read that it will be a closed-end show like AHS. As such, I think it could actually work, although not sure what they will do if there's a season two. But FX is really getting on the ball with some of its programming, so I trust it will be good.
Reply
Flag
Maybe you know. First, do the Coen brothers having anything to do with the show, need to get their permission ect? Do the family of the original murders have anything to do with the show, payment ect? To early to tell what future seasons could be like, may be more centered on a place, like the station and occuring in different years with different detectives, like a detective fro Fargo police moves to the big city... I'm still not sure how I feel about them turning one of my favorite movies into a tv show and keeping the same name on top of that. And when you already know how it ends, unless they are going to change it up and are using the name to atract older audiances or they're gearing the show towards younger audiances who may not have seen the movie? P.S. I think and American Psycho t.v. show would be great.
Reply
Flag
No one asked him to explain Anger Management's failure in the ratings, the justification of renewing it the way they did, and firing of Selma Blair?
7
Reply
Flag
Ouch, good point. That show has "pretty good for the lowest common denominator" written all over it, too, breaking the network's ethic.
Reply
Flag
This is why FX is an awesome network: "Make them really good for somebody, not pretty good for everybody." They don't dumb down their shows to pander to the lowest common denominator like the broadcast (and many cable) networks do.
4
Reply
Flag
So glad The bridge getting a second season. Well deserving !
4
Reply
Flag
This guy's great although he caved in too easily on Justified ending.

I don't know what to thing about Fargo. The movie was one of the greatest things ever and the show is sort of heresy and couldn't possibly be anywhere near as good. Then again it is on FX and has a pretty great cast. Now the anthology thing is confusing me. Do they have lots of other ideas for stories involving the city of Fargo? Will they all be police investigation of a murder-centric? Remember that the movie wasn't exactly centred on Fargo, most of it was actually set in Minnesota (especially Minneapolis and Brainerd). What does that mean for future seasons? Will they be Fargo-centric or tell stories from all over Minnesota and the Dakotas?
Reply
Flag
The Fargo-specific session is next. May have some answers for you soon!
1
Reply
Flag
Wow, thanks!
Reply
Flag
Louie is coming back sooner then I thought, awesome!

Really looking forward to Fargo, loved the film.

Gonna miss Justified, my favorite show currently on TV.
Reply
Flag
Well the way he answers questions says something about the guy. He really is a smart dude. FX - best network hands down.
11
Reply
Flag
"Make them really good for somebody, not pretty good for everybody."
The five major broadcast networks need to make this their motto. The CW is probably the closest because they are staying relatively loyal to genre programming, but the "big four" are constantly phoning it in with TV shows. It sounds like Fox are already taking a step in the right direction after yesterdays presentation, let's just hope that ABC and NBC take heed (CBS can probably do what they want, they've got 20 million old people watching them every night).
18
Reply
Flag
The Best Network out there!!!
4
Reply
Flag
This was a really interesting article, FX is one of my favorite networks. I will miss Justified but if its what the cast and crew want and its not being canceled, I'm good. I'm also dying to know what Season 4 of AHS will be. There are online rumors its AHS: Carnival but I'd like Murphy to let us all know.
8
Reply
Flag
A dark and twisted carnival story - sounds awesome! I hope so.
1
Reply
Flag
FX is still crushing it...
3
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook