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As FX turns 20, fifteen of TV’s top scribes — from Rescue Me’s Denis Leary to Louie’s Louis C.K. — reveal what it’s like to write for a network that encourages smart TV (almost) without rules as part of a series that The Hollywood Reporter is rolling out this week. This story first appeared in the May 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The most gruesome scene during Damages‘ run on FX was in the pilot. A woman walks into her kitchen and violently slips. She sees blood all over her nightgown and realizes it’s not her own. She looks over to see her dog — dead. His throat has been slit, and he’s bled all over the floor. A lot of blood was required, and finding a fake dog that resembled a real murdered dog was a big challenge. The propmaster brought a fake dead dog to director Allen Coulter’s apartment for our approval. His place was being renovated, so we looked at the dog in the lobby. Residents passed the spectacle of three adult men standing over a butchered terrier, wondering if it was “FX enough.” (Making a pool of blood not look like an oil slick was also tough. We seem to recall punching up the red in post.) To say FX was thrilled at the sight of a slaughtered pup may not reflect well on them, but they were thrilled. That’s why they’re FX.
Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman were the creators and executive producers of Damages, which aired from 2007 to 2012.