FX president John Landgraf defended his decision to bet big on Charlie Sheen’s upcoming Anger Management, a project he’s given a series order without having seen a script.
“I walked into the pitch as skeptical as you might imagine I would be,” Landgraf told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena. “It was just a really excellent pitch. I think some of you saw Charlie last weekend and I think you saw a very different Charlie Sheen. And I saw that guy in the room. I saw a really good pitch for a comedy series. Funny and complicated and I think the character he ought to be playing at this point – somebody with a checkered past but pretty self aware.”
FX agreed to buy 10 episodes of Anger Management, and will purchase 90 more if the show hits a certain ratings threshold. But one reporter asked whether Sheen’s history of domestic violence makes him an appropriate star for the network.
“[The reporter] feels Charlie shouldn’t have a place in popular culture, that with his crimes, he should be banished to Siberia,” Landgraf said. “Charlie wants to get his house in order and deal with the issues of substance abuse and relationships within his own family, and have greater consciousness, and do a show where he has more complicatedly positive relationships with women … my opinion is that could be a good thing, not just for Charlie, but for society. I believe in redemption … I’m all for giving him the opportunity for turning things around.”
Landgraf was also asked about the comic-book adaptation Powers, a drama starring Jason Patric as a cop who investigates cases involving people with superpowers. The executive compared the project to Game of Thrones, saying they were trying to bring a grown-up style grounded style to the superhero genre the way Thrones did for fantasy – but were having some trouble pulling it off. The pilot wasn’t ordered and the network hasn’t yet decided whether to pay for the extensive reshoots that would be required to try again.
“We’re in the process of deciding whether to pull the trigger on that re-shoot,” Landgraf said. “This is a really hard one. It’s just proving difficult.”
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