AMC Head Joel Stillerman Credits True Detective with Bringing Change


The New York Television Festival is currently going on, and some TV bigwigs have been gathering to talk about the current state of television. Even though True Detective has no presence at the festival, that hasn’t stopped it from being something of a talking point. The first season helped user in a new age of noir drama, and not even low ratings for season two can change that.

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According to International Business Times, Joel Stillerman, head of AMC and Sundance’s original programing, talked about how True Detective shook things up. AMC ended up passing on True Detective, according to him, because “the fix was in for HBO.” Still, Stillerman credits True Detective for brining major movie talent to television, saying that “the barrier was broken, an exponentially larger number of shows started coming in with talent attached.”

True Detective, and then Fargo, both proved that television — particularly the miniseries format — could attract A-list talent with the right stories. He wasn’t so quick to issue total praise for the sea change, however, and raised some valid points concerning star expectations:

"“When [someone like Matthew McConaughey] walks in your door, you are in a very different box at that point. You are pretty much expected to shut up, write a check and work with what is there…When you have talent attached that usually means a director is attached as well that has a specific window for when he can direct the pilot or the first season. It’s changed the game dramatically and it’s an open-ended question as to whether it is better or worse.”"

Bringing in specific movie talent can constrict the shooting schedule. On top of that, most stars aren’t going to want to hang around for more than a single season. AMC doesn’t yet have a series with big name stars attached — Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk doesn’t really count. It looks like that’s an area that they are going to explore in the future, possibly due to the pressures of shows like True Detective and Fargo.

For fans of AMC’s other shows, the piece is definitely worth a read. Beyond that, it still delights and surprises to hear how True Detective continues to affect the televisions landscape.

Next: Cary Fukunaga still looking back at True Detective.

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