Following the exit of their long-standing head of programmer, assumedly brought upon by the tepid response to Vinyl and the almost unanimous dismissal of True Detective Season 2, HBO now seems to be raging to find a new hit. The timing for finding new programs also seems to parallel the fact that we can nearly see the end in sight for Game of Thrones, which has been their flagship program over the last few years above the likes of (arguably better) comedies Silicon Valley and Girls. The fact that the company has put the kibosh on two, count’em, two David Fincher shows over budgetary concerns also does not shine a particularly great light on their programming practices.
Things are looking slightly up as of today, however, as Variety has confirmed that HBO has given pilot orders to two very promising projects from Adam McKay and Kathryn Bigelow, both of which have been rumored to be in the works for some time. McKay, who just got a major boost with his Oscar-nominated topical comedy The Big Short, will be helming Succession, which follows the doings of a wealthy global-media company that is going through some shaky times. No cast has been announced for the series, but it has been confirmed that Will Ferrell will serve as a producer on the series alongside McKay.
Succession does seem to continue to extend McKay’s interest in the fiscal state of being of America’s money-making elite, and Mogadishu, Minnesota, Bigelow’s project, similarly continues to expand her vision of America in the age of terrorism and the refugee crisis. Although the series was originally called The Recruiters, and was purported to follow the nuances of terrorist recruitment in America, the series now seems to be primarily focused on a Somali family living in Minnesota, which suggests that EP Bigelow and director-writer-producer K’naan will be taking a deeper look at what it’s like to be a refugee in a world where Donald Trump could possibly be president. There’s a lot to look forward to in both cases, but one has to be skeptical that either of these very political shows has the possibility to blow up the way that HBO’s staple programs have in the past. We shall see.