FX Networks Issues Statement Addressing Media Mischaracterization of TCA Remarks Regarding ‘True Detective’ Creator

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FX Networks has issued a statement addressing John Landgraf’s 2014 Television Critics Association (TCA) remarks regarding True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto and the mischaracterization of those remarks by several media outlets.

A question was raised during an interview centered around FX show Fargo, and the answer given by Landgraf was incorrectly quoted by multiple outlets, with the misquote changing the meaning of, and adding a negative connotation to, Landgraf’s original answer.

Continue reading below for the full statement from the network:

On Monday, July 21st at the FX Networks presentation at the 2014 Television Critics Association (TCA) summer press tour, FX Networks & FX Productions CEO John Landgraf held a 45-minute executive session, which included opening remarks followed by a wide ranging question-and-answer session with the media assembled in the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

In his prepared opening remarks, Landgraf praised the award-winning and Emmy nominated drama series True Detective and its creator Nic Pizzolatto. On the record, as reflected in the official transcript issued to TCA members following his press conference (when speaking of the new anthological story form pioneered by Ryan Murphy with American Horror Story), Mr. Landgraf stated:

“Nic Pizzolatto is doing it very well, brilliantly well with the outstanding True Detective.”

Later in the Q&A session, he restated that belief regarding the first season of True Detective. He said: “…Nic (Pizzolatto) is going to have to prove he can write something truly great every single year.”  In several prominent publications, Mr. Landgraf was quoted as saying, “Nic is going to have to prove he can write something truly great.”   The omission of the words “every single year” that completed Mr. Landgraf’s sentence, implies that Mr. Landgraf believes what Mr. Pizzolatto wrote is not great, which is the exact opposite of what Mr. Landgraf said in that comment as well as his initial comment in his opening remarks.

Since the initial publication of those inaccurate stories, numerous additional outlets have picked up those stories and incorrectly, mistakenly and unfairly passed them off as fact, even going so far as to write further critical analysis and commentary based on that misrepresentation. In addition, these falsehoods were forwarded repeatedly to key executives at HBO and to Mr. Pizzolatto himself.

Any outlet that has published this false story has an obligation to publicly correct the record.   They owe an apology to Mr. Landgraf, to everyone at HBO and True Detective, and especially to Mr. Pizzolatto.

Mr. Landgraf said today:

“It seems unreasonable that I should have to issue a clarification for something that was stated clearly in the first place, but nevertheless I repeat, for the record, that I watched True Detective and loved it. I think Nic Pizzolatto wrote something truly great (and Mathew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson and Cary Fukunaga also did absolutely stellar work). Nic has created a very high bar for himself, and as a fan of the show and based on his work in season one, I have no doubt he will clear it by a mile with his second incarnation of True Detective. Also, for the record, I am an avid viewer and fan of many of HBO’s outstanding original series, and I have a profound respect for Richard Plepler, Mike Lombardo and their entire gifted team. Anyone who claims to love television but doesn’t pay attention to the consistently excellent work that HBO is fostering, would be suspect in my book.”

The original question and answer being addressed in the above statement are as follows:

QUESTION: On FARGO, first off, are snow and cold essential to the look and feel of FARGO? And No. 2, in the casting, it seems like you’re facing the same situation “True Detective” is, where you almost have to come up with at least amarquee name because you had Billy Bob Thornton, someone who doesn’t generally do TV. Do you feel that way? I mean, you can also discover unknowns as you did with Allison Tolman. But do you feel it would be a letdown if you didn’t have at least one sort of marquee actor or actress who hasn’t really done much TV before?

JOHN LANDGRAF: I’m not going to answer the first question just because I want Noah to be able to answer that question, because I spent a lot of time talking to him and Warren about the question of whether snow and cold are essential to FARGO, and I think he has an answer to it and I don’t want to preempt him. And he’ll be here at 4:30.

On the other question, I actually think we really needed Billy Bob Thornton. I think the fact that he’d worked with the Coen Brothers before and that he, like other movie stars, bring a kind of imprimatur. I think Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson brought that to “True Detective.” And I definitely think Billy Bob brought it to FARGO. For one thing, just sanctioning the quality of Noah’s material from his standpoint just opened the floodgates of every other actor wanting to be involved in it and we very quickly got Morgan Freeman and a whole bunch of other really great actors once Billy Bob signed on.

But I don’t think, actually, that we need him. You know, I think “True Detective”‘s going to have to prove that it’s more than just a vehicle for movie stars. I think it’s going to have to prove that Nic’s going to have to prove that he can write something truly great every single year. Because if the writing is not great, it doesn’t matter who is in it. It’s not going to be a great show. I think Noah’s already proven that he can write something really great based on the sort of tone and world that was created by the Coen Brothers. And I think it would be nice to have a movie star in the second cycle of FARGO, but I don’t really think it’s necessary. I think we needed Billy Bob, but I don’t think we need somebody next year.

Photo Credit: FX Networks


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