HBO Programming Head Talks 'True Detective' Season 2, Why 'True Blood' Is Ending
HBO programming director Michael Lombardo revealed a handful of details about the new season of True Detective Thursday, but he didn't disclose who would be starring in the second season of Nic Pizzolatto's series.
"We’re going to start shooting in September for it to air next summer," Lombardo told an audience at the Edinburgh TV Festival, confirming various plot details about the show. "[It has] different characters, a different setting. It’s set in California, all of California. There are three cops. One of the characters is female. I think that’s probably all I’m allowed to say. We’ll probably be announcing casting soon."
Lombardo said he’d read the first two hours of scripts plus outlines for two subsequent episodes.
"When you have a success like True Detective it’s challenging, less for us and more for someone like Nic, how to face the page again and start afresh and not be haunted by the success of the show you’ve just done," he said. "But the writing is better than last season. It’s exceptional."
Unlike the crime drama’s first season, which was directed in its entirety by Cary Fukunaga, Lombardo said he thought they’d use "three or four different directors" this time around, without naming any potential candidates.
Speaking about working with the volume of pitches he receives, Lombardo said that True Detective was among the few shows he accepted almost instantaneously.
"We’d worked with Nic before. We hired him to do a pilot script, which we decided not to go forward with. But the writing was unbelievable. So we get a call to say Nic had written two episodes [of True Detective] and was it in with possibility for attached stars. And they gave us the first two scripts. I knew in the room that we had to do this. It was clear that they had packaged it and it was competitive. I just said ‘I want to do this,’ " he said.
As one True grows, another is set to leave HBO’s schedule. After seven seasons, True Blood will be drawing to a close at the end of its current run, joining Newsroom and Boardwalk Empire on the list of the network’s outgoing dramas.
"This season, True Blood is one of the highest-rated shows across the board; it gets over 10 million views an episode," claimed Lombardo. "But the minute you feel you’re airing it for the numbers we start questioning it. Every season we sit down with the creator and say ‘Tell us what the next year will be like.’ And if there aren't exciting, unbelievable, undeniable ideas in the coming season, we’re questioning. And I think in the case of True Blood, it just felt like we had reached a place where the storytelling was hitting a wall. And to stay just because the ratings were strong felt not who we are and we needed, quite honestly, the money and Sunday night space for new shows.”