John Landgraf (President & General Manager of FX Networks) Talks POWERS, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, WILFRED, JUSTIFIED, ANGER MANAGEMENT and More

     July 30, 2012

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As part of the TCA Press Tour presentation for FX, President & General Manager of FX Networks John Landgraf took some time to talk about their current hit series, new shows, and what they see as possibilities for their future line-up.  During the interview, he spoke about the status of American Horror Story as a mini-series and the differences in Season 2, the positive futures for both Wilfred and Justified, the possibility of the back 90 episode pick-up for Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management, why Sons of Anarchy always gets overlooked for Emmy Awards nominations, whether Powers might still make it to the air, and their pilots for The Americans (starring Kerri Russell), Bronx Warrants (from Denis Leary and Jim Serpico) and The Bridge (based on the Danish series of the same name).  Check out what he had to say after the jump. 

american-horror-story-poster-undatedQuestion:  Were you surprised to find out that American Horror Story was a mini-series?

JOHN  LANDGRAF:  We actually always knew that American Horror Story was going to be a mini-series, in the sense that we knew that it was a closed-ended show that had no continuing storylines or characters between the 13 episodes that were produced and aired, and subsequent seasons.  That’s the definition of a mini-series.  A mini-series is a show that has no continuing story or narrative elements between one group of episodes and another, so no, I wasn’t surprised.

What will the differences be, in Season 2?

LANDGRAF:  The second season takes place in a different timeframe, in the ‘60s.  It takes place in New England, at a sanitarium run by the Catholic Church.  And none of the characters in it are characters that we’ve previously seen, so there’s no continuity between Season 1 and Season 2.  Beyond that, I know Ryan [Murphy] doesn’t want to give away that many details.  I can only tell you that it’s unbelievably scary, and I’m very excited about the cast. 

What can you say about the futures of Wilfred and Justified?

LANDGRAF:  I think Wilfred has a many-year future on the channel.  I’m really happy with the show, creatively.  I’m very happy with its year-on-year performance.  The only thing standing in the way of us picking up another season is that we have some deal issues to work out, but I think it will be on the air for several more years.  Similarly, Justified has a run of, at a minimum, probably six years on our air.

anger-management-posterAre you happy with the numbers for Anger Management, as far as picking up the back 90 episodes? 

LANDGRAF:  I am happy with the show, creatively.  I think the entry of Martin Sheen’s character will give an extra dimension to the show, and it will also make it a multi-generational family show.  The show will still deal with Charlie’s relationship with his patients, and it will still deal with his relationship with the women in his life, but I just think that’s going to add a new dimension.  And Martin is such a talented actor that it’s going to be a very memorable character.  As with any comedy, I think it’s got more growth in it, creatively.  I think it’s still developing, but generally speaking, I’m real happy.  Since we have the right, contractually, to wait for every the first ten episodes to air, to make a decision about moving forward, we’re going to take that prerogative and we’re going to wait.  That said, it is true that the four episodes that have aired, which count in formula, have exceeded the number required for renewal.  So, I would say the odds are overwhelming that it will ultimately earn that renewal.

sons-of-anarchy-season-4-posterWhy do you think Sons of Anarchy gets overlooked at the Emmy Awards, year after year?  What do you think is going on?

LANDGRAF:  I don’t know.  I really don’t.  The show is grungy and blue-collar, and violent and profane sometimes, although you might say that Breaking Bad has some of those qualities, too.  I just think the Emmy voters don’t like it that much.  I think there are some fantastic performances on there, not only Katey [Sagal] and Ron [Perlman], but Charlie Hunnam’s just gotten better and better and better.  He’s really such a strong one, as is Maggie Siff.  But, I don’t know what to say about that.  At this point, I don’t see the Emmys giving it any recognition.  I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see it.

We keep hearing that Powers is still alive.  What actually is the status of that show, and if it does get picked up, will you have to re-shoot the pilot, especially with Lucy Punch now on another series?

LANDGRAF:  Yeah.  (Comic author) Brian [Bendis] has had the benefit of reading scripts that I haven’t read.  What we ended up doing is hiring (writer) Chic Eglee, who had done the work on the pilot we shot.  Not only did he rewrite the pilot that we had shot, but he’s done three more episodes and put together a writing staff.  Brian has read those scripts, but I haven’t seen them yet.  So, we are going to end up having four scripts for Powers.  If we elect to move forward, I think we will just go back and re-shoot the pilot from scratch, with a new cast, in all probability.  There’s a possibility that some of the original cast members might return.  Jason Patric certainly wants to look at the material and wants to render an opinion about whether he still wants to be involved in the project, but it’s just as likely that we’d start from scratch and re-shoot it.  

john-landgraf-fx-interviewWhat can you say about what’s coming up for the network, drama wise?

LANDGRAF: We also expect to make a decision soon regarding series pickup for The Americans, a drama pilot we recently shot starring Keri Russell, Matthew Reese and Noah Emmerich.  We are very happy with the pilot, and are quite optimistic about the new series prospects.  We announced recently that we were back in business with Denis Leary and Jim Serpico on a comedy pilot, called Bronx Warrants.  That pilot starts production August 6th in New York, and casting is nearly complete on that.  We’ve cast Robert Kelly, Godfrey, Josh Segarra and Shirley Rumierk, who are relative unknowns, but incredibly funny people.  I think Denis and Jim have put together a great cast, and also Scott Ellis, who is a veteran comedy director, is coming aboard to direct that.

We also have the order for a new drama series pilot, called The Bridge.  This is a series created and executive produced by Meredith Stiehm, the creator of Cold Case and currently a writer on Homeland, and Elwood Reid, who is also writer and executive producer on Cold Case.  It’s based on a Danish series, of the same title.  We hope to start production of that in several months. 

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