At TCA 2017, HBO defends ‘Confederate,’ announces Jon Stewart special and says ‘Deadwood’ movie is inching closer
HBO, which has the hottest show on television with “Game of Thrones,” recently came under fire with the announcement of a new series called “Confederate” from a team that includes “Game of Thrones” producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff. The series revolves around events that lead to the “Third American Civil War” and examines an alternate reality in which the South seceded from the Union and thus, slavery is still legal.
Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming, defended the project Wednesday during the premium network’s session at the summer edition of the Television Critics Assn. gathering at the Beverly Hilton.
Bloys said that, in hindsight, the announcement was mishandled because it lacked the context and the vision that he received from Benioff and Weiss in discussing the series.
He admitted it was “misguided” to believe they could simply announce a series with such a sensitive and volatile subject matter. “We could have done a better job with the press release,” he said. “There was no benefit of context.”
“My hope is people will judge the actual material instead of what it could be or should be or might be,” he said. “We’ll rise or fall based on that material.”
He added that he felt the series, rather than being divisive, would be able to advance “the racial discussion.” Although the topic is controversial, he said he and the producers of the show “all feel this is a risk worth taking.”
Bloys also stressed that the depiction of slavery would not echo “Gone With the Wind” and would not include whips and plantations.
In other major HBO news, former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will perform a stand-up special at a date and time to be announced, and host the latest “Night of Too Many Stars,” an all-star benefit for autism.
Also, a movie reboot of HBO’s western “Deadwood” is closer to reality. Bloys said the show’s creator, David Milch, has completed a script that will please fans of the series while also being accessible to those less familiar with the show. But, he said, reuniting the large cast, which included Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane, may prove challenging.
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