TCA 2014: FX chief says 'Fargo' can work without a big star

'Fargo,' unlike 'True Detective' can work without having a big star, FX chief John Landgraf says

John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks, has often talked about the similarities between the FX drama "Fargo" and HBO's gritty "True Detective." Both were limited series, both were acclaimed projects featuring major film stars and both were universally acclaimed.

But Landgraf said there was a key difference between the two hits. He feels that "True Detective" is largely built on having the anchor of a marquee cast, while the writing and feel of "Fargo" is the real star and that future installments don't need a major actor or actress to succeed.



An earlier version of this post did not include the complete quote by FX Networks CEO John Landgraf: "["True Detective" creator] Nic Pizzolatto has to prove that he can write something truly great every single year."


"True Detective" has to prove it's more than just a star vehicle," Landgraf said during a session at the Television Critics Assn. press tour. "["True Detective" creator] Nic Pizzolatto has to prove that he can write something truly great every single year. The writing and story of 'Fargo' is the star. It can be done with a cast of unknowns."

HBO's "True Detective" starred Matthew McConaughay and Woody Harrelson. Speculation has continued to swirl around who will be cast in the expected second season.

Landgraf pointed out how Billy Bob Thornton was a top film star attached to the first season of "Fargo," but co-star Allison Tolman, an unknown actress from Chicago who charmed fans and critics with her portrayal of a ambitious Bemidji deputy, made as big of an impression.

"Fargo" will return for a second 10-episode edition, most likely in the fall of 2015, with a whole new "true crime" case, a new cast and a new time period.

None of the performers from the first season will be involved with the new installment. Although each season of the network's "American Horror Story" regular miniseries features many of the same cast members playing different characters, he said "Fargo" was different.

"It's heartbreaking from my standpoint given my love for the actors" that they will not return in the second season," Landgraf said. "But 'Fargo' demands a different level of realism. We couldn't introduce those actors as new characters."


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