FX at TCA 2019: CEO Knocks Netflix, ‘Legion’ Final Season, ‘Fargo’ Return, ‘Y’ Adaptation
As the second week of the Television Critics Association winter press tour kicked off, it was FX Networks turn to bring panels for their upcoming FX series — What We Do In The Shadows, The Weekly and Fosse/Verdon — and returning series — Better Things and Legion — as well as handful of news.
One of those bits of news was that the upcoming third season of Legion would be its last. CEO of FX FX Networks and FX Productions John Landgraf, who made the announcement, said that the three-season plan had always been the plan for creator Noah Hawley. What about the much anticipated fourth season of Fargo? Landgraf reported that the network has heard the pitch for the latest season and Hawley is busy writing now. “It’s going into production this coming winter,” Landgraf revealed.
He also added that the writers are working on the next season of Atlanta but he didn’t have an announcement of when viewers would see episodes — though he did share that they probably wouldn’t be for the upcoming Emmy cycle of eligibility.
Landgraf was also asked about the future of programs with Ryan Murphy, who last year moved over to Netflix in a huge overall deal. He said we would be getting more American Horror Story and American Crime Story but revealed that Murphy did not have a new idea for another season of Feud. Landgraf did share that the previously announced Katrina season of ACS was no longer in the works.
He then said that the long-running comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia still has a future with FX. “I think the show has a chance of continuing,” he stated, citing the creative high from the most recent season. Additionally, Landgraf was asked about Louis C.K. and the fact that he joked recently about losing $35 million (after his FX deal was cut after sexual misconduct charges). Landgraf’s reply was simple. “I’m sure losing all that money was really painful for him,” he said.
During his opening remarks, Landgraf didn’t have much new news to share about the future of the network given the Disney merger with Fox. However, he did say that, in his conversations with Disney Chairman Bob Iger, they agreed that “the acquisition of FX would not change the FX brand.”
Landgraf, per usual during his TCA executive sessions, talked of the estimated number of scripted original series across broadcast, cable and online and cited in 2018 there were 496 series on the air. He also took several pot shots at Netflix for releasing extremely high viewership numbers (as they did with the recently acquired You and their new comedy series, Sex Education) since that source of numbers came from (wait for it) Netflix. Netflix also isn’t promoting an average viewership when releasing those numbers, as has always been the norm.
To use a baseball analogy, he acknowledged that the network has had “home-runs” (like Stranger Things) but, he added, the streaming network has also had “massive number of strike-outs [and] commercial failures.” Landgraf suggested to the room of journalists that any viewership numbers from any network should come from a third party source like Nielsen, as has been done since the creation of television.
Also announced just prior to FX’s executive session was the series order of Y, based on the acclaimed 60-issue post-apocalyptic science fiction comic book series Y: The Last Man, by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. In the series, every male has been decimated except for one, who lives in a new world order of women. The series stars Diane Lane, Barry Keoghan, Imogen Poots, Lashana Lynch, Juliana Canfield with Marin Ireland and Amber Tamblyn.