This HBO Exec Would Like You to Blame Him for True Detective Season Two, Not Nic Pizzolatto

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Hmmm. Photo: HBO

Still reeling from the critically panned second season of True Detective? So is HBO, but they say the show's creator, Nic Pizzolatto, didn't sabotage the show all on his own. HBO's president of programming Michael Lombardo now tells The Frame that he's fine taking the blame for the sophomore slump of his network's acclaimed hit, saying he mistakenly rushed Pizzolatto for more ratings:

"Our biggest failures — and I don’t know if I would consider True Detective [season] two [one of them] — 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. And 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. I think what we did was go, 'Great.' 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. 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."

HBO has yet to officially renew True Detective for a third season — instead inking an overall deal with Pizzolatto — but Lombardo suggests that if they do, he'll take things much slower. "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."

Lombardo is also responding to criticism over the network's depiction of nudity and sex, saying he'd like to see more equal representation in every respect: "I’m often told that, relative to other premium services, we don’t have enough nudity. But here’s the truth: I’m a gay guy. I don’t particularly care about female nudity. We have never given a note to say, 'More nudity.' I think the truth is, when you’re in certain worlds — we’re very creative-friendly. If you’re going to sign on for certain shows, that’s part of the journey ... Look, we live in a puritanical society. I think the real issue is why actresses are saying that, and not actors. And that is, by the way, a valid question, and I’ll tell you why that is. Because white men produce the shows ... Put a female showrunner on, trust me. It’s gonna be equal opportunity."