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Louis C.K. surprised fans Saturday — who were already preparing for a long hibernation until the next season of FX’s Louie premieres — when he released the first episode of an entirely new TV show, Horace and Pete.
The series stars C.K. as Horace, who runs a 100-year-old bar with his brother Pete (Steve Buscemi) following his father’s death. The first episode also introduces Horace’s Uncle Pete (Alan Alda) who works at the bar, his uncle’s former girlfriend (Jessica Lange), his sister (Edie Falco) who is fighting him over ownership of the bar, his daughter (Aidy Bryant) who basically hates him, in addition to a colorful cast of bar patrons. (And if that’s not enough star power, Paul Simon wrote the show’s theme song.)
The first episode of the series appeared on his website without fanfare, without really any warning whatsoever and immediately elicited all sorts of questions: Where did this come from? When was this made? When will there be more?
C.K., who is writing, directing, producing and distributing the series on his own, attempted to pull the curtain back on his top-secret project and answer some of those questions in a post Thursday on his official website.
“Part of the idea behind launching it on the site was to create a show in a new way and to provide it to you directly and immediately, without the usual promotion, banner ads, billboards and clips that tell you what the show feels and looks like before you get to see it for yourself,” he says. “As a writer, there’s always a weird feeing that as you unfold the story and reveal the characters and the tone, you always know that the audience will never get the benefit of seeing it the way you wrote it because they always know so much before they watch it. And as a TV watcher I’m always delighted when I can see a thing without knowing anything about it because of the promotion.”
As many viewers might have guessed from the very up-to-date references to the presidential election in the first episode, there is a tight turnaround for each episode. C.K. said he is currently working on episode two to premiere this Saturday on his website. Beyond that, it’s unclear if episodes will drop every Saturday, and it’s also still unclear just many episodes to expect.
However, C.K. also addressed the cost of the episode — $5 per download — in his post as well. “The dirty, unmovable fact is that this show is f—ing expensive,” C.K. says. “Horace and Pete is a full-on TV production with four broadcast cameras, two beautiful sets and a state of-the-art-control room and a very talented and skilled crew and a hall-of-fame cast.”
According to C.K., the next episode will cost $2 and the episodes after that will cost $3 each. “Basically this is a handmade, one-guy-paid-for-it version of a thing that is usually made by a giant corporation,” he continues. “I charged five dollars because I need to recoup some of the cost in order for us to stay in production.”
The first episode of Horace and Pete is available on LouisCK.net.
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