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TV Critics Tour '15: 'Louie' takes a breather, Kurt Sutter goes medieval

Louis CK is taking a break from

Louis CK is taking a break from "Louie." Again.. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File) Photo Credit: AP

From FX's daylong session Friday, here are your headlines: Louie  takes a break!... Kurt Sutter is going all medieval on us!...The Strain will end at five...FX chief John Landgraf, who is usually proven right in his predictions, says scripted TV is about to hit a bubble and...

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 re-group break taken by Louis CK, similar to the one he took after Louie's third season, but rather one that will be dedicated to producing new shows for FX, as well as a theatrical.

Here is 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

"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 Your Enthusiasm ]will air."

Sons of Anarchycreator, 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 forced back to the battlefield, using an executioner sword - designed specifically for decapitations. So yes: This is and will be somewhat violent. Imagine nothing less with Suter.

Based loosely on the Madog ap Llywelyn rebellion -- a real historic event involving a Welsh rebellion 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. O'Byrne, and even Sutter, who plays a character called the Dark Mute and wife and partner, Katey Sagal), buzz here on the two-hour pilot has not 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 is a lot to absorb here, but I am still cautiously optimistic from what I've seen.

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 yesterday 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 is 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 is not a horror show but  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 TV program bubble is about to burst, says LX chief John Landgraf. You don't need a TV to know that there is an enormous and growing number of new scripted TV shows -- many of them, after all, are now on major Internet destinations, like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Crackle. Landgraf Friday said the limit has probably been reached, or will soon be 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."


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