From FX's daylong session Friday, here are your headlines: Louie takes a break!... Kurt Sutter is going all medieval on us!...The Stain will end at five...FX chief John Landgraf, who's usually proven right in his predictions, says scripted TV ihas hit a bubble and...well, read on.
To the bullets:
"Louie" is taking another breather, and nobody's quite sure when it will come back. That includes FX chief, John Landgraf who indicated the break could last as long as two years. This isn't just a breather, similar to the one taken by Louis CK after the third season, but rather one that will be dedicated to producing new shows for FX, as well as a theatrical. Here's what Landgraf had to say: "Louis is anxious to take a break from the show and to work on other things. He is currently prepping a movie he wrote and will direct, and he is producing two shows for us, Baskets, starring Zach Galifianakis, and Better Things starring and created by Pamela Adlon [the standup & standout on "Louie"] which we ordered today. Both of those series will premiere next year on FX.
He added that CK is developing a THIRD series for the network too.
When will he have time to get back to "Louie?" "He could decide to take a six month hiatus and then come back and make some more episodes. He could decide to take a two year hiatus and we could be where HBO is with Larry David announcing periodically when subsequent seasons [of "Curb'] will air.?
"Sons of Anarchy" creator, Kurt Sutter, has a new series on FX arriving Sept. 15 entitled "The Bastard Executioner," an historical period drama about 14th century Wales, about a knight in King Edward 1's army, who laid down his arms, foreswears violence, becomes a farmer and then...is forced back to the battlefield, using an executioner's sword'- designed specifically for decapitations. (So yes -- you can tell already this is a Sutter series).
Based loosely on the Madog ap Llywelyn rebellion -- an historic event involving a Welsh break from the English crown -- mega-producer Brian Grazer brought the idea to Sutter, who was anxious to explore other genres after a career in the crime one (The Shield, SOA) began writing the newcomer while wrapping "SOA."
Despite a Welsh locale and heckuva cast (Stephen Moyer, Brian F. OByrne, and even Sutter, who plays a character called The Dark Mute, and wife and partner, Katey Sagal), buzz here on the two-hour pilot hasn't been entirely positive. "Hard to get into" seems to be the most oft-traded observation.
My read: Wait and see. I'm intrigued by this, but the show's mythology does feel like a heavy lift. There's a lot to absorb here, but I am still cautiously optimistic by what I've seen, although it is dense.
Here's Kurt on the new show: "I love history so I got to immerse myself in the history of the Plantagenets and that whole really [messed] up lineage. And then when we set it in Wales, suddenly it presented all these great, less documented external conflicts and external pressures as far as the rebellions that were going on. So, yes, the world itself definitely has its own mythology and history."
The Strain,which just launched its second season, got a third-season pickup, while showrunner Carlton Cuse said Friday it will end at five. "We are very happy to have gotten a pickup for Season 3, which will be 10 episodes, and then Seasons 4 and 5 will be 10 episodes each, and that will be the end."
The vampire series -- based on the Chuck Hogan/Guillermo del Toro book series -- has done well for FX, or about two million viewers per live episode (a figure that increases of course over the course of a week). That's hardly the wattage of some other major FX shows. So my hunch was that a tipping point to keep the show around for five seasons may well be the lead, Corey Stoll -- Eph -- who is in the middle of the biggest year of his career ("Ant Man").
Here's Stoll Friday on what to expect going forward: "Carlton has said numerous times that it's not a horror show. It's an adventure show, with horror elements. And so part of that, I think, is a sense of positivity in a weird sense a sense of we're going to find a way to do it and not get paralyzed by the horror of it. That's where Eph is right now. "
The program bubble is about to burst, says Landgraf. You don't need a TV to know that there's an enormous and growing number of new scripted TV shows -- many of them, after all, are now on major Internet destinations, like Netflix, Amazon and Crackle. Landgraf Friday said the limit has probably been reached, or will soon, saying that he recently revised upward the total of original scripted series across TV and the web, from 352 to 371 original scripted series. "By our best current estimates, we believe 2015 will easily blow through the 400 series mark. My sense is that 2015 or 2016 will represent peak TV in America and that we'll begin to see declines coming the year after that and beyond."