HBO's Michael Lombardo Blames Himself For 'True Detective' Season 2

Michael Lombardo  - 2015-H 2020
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"Well, you know what? I set him up. To deliver, in a very short time frame, something that became very challenging to deliver," the HBO programming president said of 'True Detective' scribe Nic Pizzolatto.

HBO programming president Michael Lombardo says he set Nic Pizzolatto up for failure in the second season of True Detective by trying to re-create the success of the first season too quickly.

While season one of the anthology series, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, was wildly popular with both audiences and critics, the second season, starring Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn and Taylor Kitsch, was met with notorious disappointment.

"Our biggest failures — and I don’t know if I would consider True Detective 2 — but when we tell somebody to hit an air date as opposed to allowing the writing to find its own natural resting place, when it’s ready, when it’s baked — we’ve failed," Lombardo said in a recent interview with KPCC's The Frame.

He continued: "I think in this particular case, the first season of True Detective was something that Nic Pizzolatto had been thinking about, gestating, for a long period of time. He’s a soulful writer. … And I take the blame. I became too much of a network executive at that point. We had huge success. 'Gee, I’d love to repeat that next year.'

"Well, you know what? I set him up to deliver, in a very short time frame, something that became very challenging to deliver," Lombardo concedes. "That’s not what that show is. He had to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Find his muse. And so I think that’s what I learned from it. 'Don’t do that anymore.'

"And I’d love to have the enviable certainty of knowing what my next year looks like. I could pencil things in. But I’m not going to start betting on them until the scripts are done."

Pizzolatto still has time to repeat the first-season glory of True Detective, having signed on in November to an overall deal with HBO through 2018 that will likely include a third iteration of the show.