Report from TCA: ‘Deadwood’ is a Go

ian-mcshane-deadwoodBEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — At a time when reboots are now a solid part of TV schedules, HBO’s Quentin Schaffer opened the TV Critics Association summer press tour here Wednesday by pointing out, “We’ve been asked a ‘Deadwood’ question for eleven consecutive years.”

Critics took the bait and made the first question of the two week event about the possibility of bringing back the critically-cherished, foul-mouthed three season Western from David Milch that ended abruptly a dozen years ago.

HBO President of Programming Casey Bloys was ready.

“Today is your lucky day,” he said.  “because I can finally, finally confirm, we are greenlit on the Deadwood movie.”

Production is set to begin in October for a movie that would wrap up the story of Al Swearengen, Seth Bullock and Calamity Jane set in 1870s South Dakota.

Dan Minahan, who directed four episodes of the series, will return to direct.

“It has been a logistics nightmare getting all the cast members’ schedules lined up,” Bloys said, “but we are there and it is greenlighted.”

As for when the two-hour movie will make it to HBO, Bloys said, “I don’t want to be too optimistic and I would hope spring ’19.”

It was the most solid headline from the network whose sessions are usually the high point of the cable portion of the press tour but possibly never been called upon to start the event.

Recent news of the AT&T deal won’t dilute the product of HBO, Bloys vowed. “No one has asked us to take pitches for a ‘Love Boat’ reboot.”

The fact that Netflix took the most Emmy nominations this year after a 17-year run for HBO “wasn’t a surprise to us at all, given the volume of programming out there,” Bloys said.

And he said the final episodes of “Game of Thrones” will premiere the first half of next year, as work begins on a prequel.

HBO delivered Hollywood stars in the form of IJane Fonda, subject of an extensive Susan Lacy documentary Jane Fonda in Five Acts airing Sept. 24, and Jennifer Garner in a new comedy co-written by Lena Dunham about four couples on a highly-organized weekend trip, “Camping,” which premieres this fall and also stars David Tennant, Juliette Lewis, Ione Skye and Brett Gelman.

Gillian Flynn, a former entertainment writer who once covered TCA, was on stage to talk about the current adaptation of her novel “Sharp Objects” with Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson and Chris Messina. (A second season is not planned).

National Geographic had a tough time matching the star power of the morning session, but it had Ron Howard talking about the second season of “Mars,” Jeff Goldblum strolling out to muse about a new science show clearly still in the embryonic stage, Bradley Whitford, Arianna Huffington and Steve Zahn talking about a new mini-series about the browser wars in the early days of the internet.

In between, the fledging Facebook Live had a tough time in its initial session to introduce writers to the new fare it is offering on its social media site.

The fact that it occurred on the single worst business day for Facebook (or any company) in American history, with as much as $150 billion of profits lost in one day, the executives were left to defend the actions of its owner Mark Zuckerberg with statements like “Just to be clear, we find Holocaust denial absolutely abhorrent as well’ and “To be totally transparent, I find InfoWars absolutely atrocious.”

And TCA was off!

 

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