John Landgraf, President of FX, just sat down and gave us his Executive Session, and here’s what came out of it:
* FX pursued six pilots this time around – three dramas, three comedies – and they’ve already picked up two of those. The first is an animated series entitled “Archer,” which stars Aisha Tyler, Chris Parnell, and H. Jon Benjamin, and is set at ISIS, an international spy agency where global crises are merely opportunities for its highly trained employees to confuse, undermine, betray and royally screw each other. (I’ve seen the first episode and it’s very Adult Swim, but that’s to be expected from a show created by Adam Reed, the man behind “Sealab 2021” and “Frisky Dingo.”)
The second, “Lawman,” was developed by Graham Yost (“Boomtown”) and stars Timothy Olyphant (“Deadwood”) as Raylan Givens, a character created by Elmore Leonard in his short story, “Fire in the Hole.”
* The network is also working with Louis CK, is looking into “Terriers,” created by Shawn Ryan and Ted Griffin, and a pilot entitled “Lights Out,” which was written by Justin Zackham (“The Bucket List”) and stars Holt McCallany, Elias Koteas, and Melora Hardin.
* Landgraf was absolutely not surprised about the lack of Emmy nominations for “The Shield.” I find that sad.
* The current “Rescue Me” season,, which Landgraf says they are “unbelievably satisfied” with, will consist of 22 episodes, and FX has picked up 18 more for next season, though they are contemplating expanding that order. When the show returns next summer, it will probably be earlier than it was this year. (The delay was predominantly due to the writer’s strike.)
* “Testees” will not be back for a second season on FX, but it will have a second season…in Canada, where it was apparently more successful.
* Announcements regarding the cast of Season 3 of “Damages” will hopefully be made within the next week or two, and Landgraf says, “I don’t think anyone in this room would guess who they’re going to.” The network was naturally disappointed with the ratings of the series in Season 2, but he admits, “It’s a very demanding show. It’s one where you can’t watch 3, 5, 7 episodes out of 13. You’re either in or you’re out.” This obviously doesn’t fit the current mindset for TV viewers, who he describes as being “more interested in dating than marriage,” but the series is what it is.
“If we came back with ‘Damages’ and it was Patty Hughes as Perry Mason, and every year she broke someone down on the stand and got her man or woman, you guys would literally be eviscerating me,” said Landgraf. “And I would deserve it.”
Lastly, here are the premiere dates for your favorite – and soon-to-be-favorite – FX series:
“Sons of Anarchy,” Season 2 premieres on September 8th
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Season 5 premieres on September 17th
“Nip/Tuck,” Season 6 premieres on October 14th
“Archer,” premieres in the fall
“Damages,” Season 3 premieres in January 2010
“Lawman,” premieres in the spring of 2010
“Rescue Me,” Season 6 premieres in the spring or summer of 2010