Everyone knows by now about “the Louis C.K. deal” - a holy grail for comedians in which they’re given total freedom by a network to make a show however they want. If the concept is at all interesting to you, you’ll want to check out this piece about exactly how FX and C.K. worked together on Louie. Here’s C.K. himself talking about their arrangement:
Everybody wants the ‘Louis C.K. deal.’ What they don’t realize is there is no Louis C.K. deal. There’s nothing on paper that says they don’t bother me. Everything on paper says they can make me do everything they want, says I serve at their pleasure and they get approval over everything. But they’re not going to exercise it as long as things are going well. I earn this with every episode. If I stop being funny, they’re going to come calling.
It’s almost more impressive that the creator’s freedom isn’t written into the deal - rather, FX’s leaders repeatedly make the conscious decision to let creators do their thing throughout the process. Listen up, other TV executives.