FX chief John Landgraf accused HBO, Showtime and Netflix of engaging in “unfair” Emmy submission practices by stretching the definitions of popular categories to score more award-season gold.
First Landgraf told reporters at his network’s upfront presentation to advertisers in New York on Wednesday that submitting True Detective as a drama was an “unfair” move, both because of the show’s stand-alone format and because networks are able to draw outsized A-list talent like Matthew McConaughey with the promise of single-season deals. “My own personal point of view is that a miniseries is a story that ends, a series is a story that continues,” Landgraf said. “To tell you the truth, I think it’s actually unfair for HBO to put True Detective in the drama series category because essentially you can get certain actors to do a closed-ended series — a la Billy Bob Thornton in Fargo or Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in True Detective — who you can’t get to sign on for a seven-year [regular drama series] deal.”
The Wrap reported these initial comments, then Landgraf spoke to EW by phone to elaborate. The executive called the issue a “respectful debate” with his cable rivals. “It doesn’t make sense to put actors who signed on to do one year and perform the beginning, middle, and end of a character against those who are only showing one-fifth or one-sixth of that character’s journey in a season,” he said. “Matthew McConaughey is doing work every bit as good as [FX's Americans star] Matthew Rhys, but he’ll be competing against like one-sixth of the other actor’s performance. It doesn’t strike me as particularly fair. And I can see the entire series category eventually stacked with movie actors who signed on for one series of a show.” READ FULL STORY