Though Big Little Lies’ six Golden Globes nominations as a limited series might have seemed a little fishy after its season two announcement, HBO now says there was no ulterior motive. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the network claims it did not intend to manipulate awards season by submitting the show as a limited series, because a decision for its renewal was made after the fact:
“Big Little Lies was conceived, produced, and aired as a limited series. The implication of impropriety regarding HBO’s awards submission of Big Little Lies in the Limited Series category is irresponsible and uninformed. The idea to continue the story came about only after the show aired. None of the cast or filmmakers had holdover contracts. Each deal had to be renegotiated, which is proof that no ongoing series was contemplated. Additionally, no source material beyond Liane Moriarty’s novel existed. The accusation that HBO was ‘gaming the system’ is baseless and undeserved.”
Reiterating that point, the show’s creator David E. Kelley tells THR he originally developed the series with no plans for a second season. “It feels more right to me to reclassify going into the future than to go back and redefine what we were. I know what we were, and that’s a limited series,” he says. “Not only was the idea of a second season not contemplated when we began this journey, the idea was pretty prohibitive — one that we didn’t consider, quite frankly.” HBO programming chief Casey Bloys recently told Vulture that talk of extending the series did not begin until after the show had already aired, when the producers and stars regrouped and then requested more material from the novel’s author, Liane Moriarty.
Kelley now says he doesn’t imagine the series will run longer than a second season, though never say never: “Well, I guess you have to say a little open-minded, because we were convinced the first one was a one-off. But we’re equally convinced that season two will be it, too. Maybe not equally, but in my mind it’s only one more year.”