How did Anger Management end up at FX? Was there a demo reel or a full pilot? Did you have any trepidations going in, or need any assurances from Charlie Sheen?
JOHN LANDGRAF: It was just a regular pitch. They pitched it to a number of networks and channels. And, I would say that I walked into the pitch as skeptical as you might imagine I would be. Charlie was there, as was the creator and showrunner. And, it was just a really excellent pitch. What I heard was a really good pitch for a comedy series, that was funny and complicated, and I think the character that Charlie ought to be playing, at this point.
He is a character who has a checkered past, but is pretty self-aware, and is struggling in a very honest way, with that checkered past, and a desire to do more positive things in his life. Heâ€™s got a complicated relationship with his 13-year-old daughter. Heâ€™s got a positive relationship with his ex-wife. His best friend is a woman who was his mentor. There were a whole lot of elements in the piece that I thought were good fodder for comedy.
Weâ€™ve seen 15 storylines, and by storylines I mean three to four sentences, so hardly even a fully-baked outline. It was just a snippet of a storyline. We havenâ€™t seen a script yet. I really donâ€™t know what the show is yet, other than the pitch I heard and a few storylines. All I can tell you is that I go into the process as optimistic as you can, having not actually seen scripts.
Have you ever bought a show with that little information on it before, without seeing any footage or a full script?
LANDGRAF: No. And, we donâ€™t like to go to series without making pilots. Weâ€™re very steadfast. There are even some premium networks that have switched over their process to go directly to series. I believe really deeply in the pilot process because you learn things about tone and casting. Even some of our best shows have had substantial re-shoots and reworking, before theyâ€™ve gone on the air. But, itâ€™s a very inexpensive series. We donâ€™t have the same level of creative input or control that we have over our other original series. Lionsgate is putting a very substantial deficit into the show, and is a very important creative partner. And, weâ€™re a network that likes to take risks.