‘True Detective’: HBO Chief Speaks Candidly About Season 2 Woes

     January 5, 2016


Much has been said (including from me) about True Detective’s second season in relation to its first, and how it didn’t quite live up to that magnificently high bar. Was it because there were multiple directors the second time around, or that the story’s setting wasn’t as compelling, or that the cast that didn’t click as well as Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson? Or just that creator and showrunner Nic Pizzolatto just didn’t have enough time?

That last possibility is what HBO President of Programming Michael Lombardo told The Frame recently, shouldering some of the blame, as it were, for True Detective Season 2’s failings (although he, of course, doesn’t classify it quite as such). Lombardo said,

Our biggest failures — and I don’t know if I would consider “True Detective 2” — but when we tell somebody to hit an air date as opposed to allowing the writing to find its own natural resting place, when it’s ready, when it’s baked — we’ve failed. And I think in this particular case, the first season of “True Detective” was something that Nic Pizzolatto had been thinking about, gestating, for a long period of time. He’s a soulful writer. I think what we did was go, “Great.” And I take the blame. I became too much of a network executive at that point. We had huge success. “Gee, I’d love to repeat that next year.”


Image via HBO

Well, you know what? I set him up. To deliver, in a very short time frame, something that became very challenging to deliver. That’s not what that show is. He had to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Find his muse. And so I think that’s what I learned from it. Don’t do that anymore.

And I’d love to have the enviable certainty of knowing what my next year looks like. I could pencil things in. But I’m not going to start betting on them until the scripts are done.

This is all an unexpectedly and refreshingly candid take from a network president, and also explains why True Detective’s third season seems to be in limbo. (Also, Cary Fukunaga has ruled himself out for more). However, HBO is still interested in what else Pizzolatto can bring to the creative table, inking an overall deal with him recently.

We’ll keep you up to date with any more Pizzoand True Detective news as it happens, but in the meantime, I recommend checking out the entire interview. It’s very illuminating regarding Lombardo’s vision for HBO, and also includes a few interesting tidbits on Game of Thrones, and the network’s reputation regarding nudity. Lombardo’s take: “But here’s the truth. I’m a gay guy. I don’t particularly care about female nudity.”


Image via HBO