By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com March 28, 2013 at 10:58AM
While the name HBO has become synonymous with quality television, the last few years have seen rival network FX catch up in a big way. The network might only be on basic cable, and it might air the terrible Charlie Sheen vehicle "Anger Management," but in "Justified," "Archer" and "The Americans," it has three of the best TV shows airing anywhere right now, and has also been home to near-classics like "The Shield," 'Terriers," and the still-ongoing trio of "Louie," "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia," and "Wilfred."
And with ratings catching up on the main networks, FX is getting bullish, planning to launch a spin-off channel, FXX, later in the year. And at their upfronts this morning, the network just announced a pair of shows from big movie names as exciting as anything that pay-cable has to offer. First, Deadline reveal that the network have officially greenlit a TV adaptation of the Coen Brothers' classic "Fargo," to be executive-produced by Joel and Ethan themselves.
As announced before, the show is being written by Noah Hawley ("My Generation"), so it's unclear if the Coens have any involvement other than their names on the credits, but it's still an exciting prospect. Don't expect this to be a long-runner, though; the idea is apparently that it would be a limited series, so you should only expect one season of the show. That said, if it's a hit...
Perhaps the bigger news is still early, coming from @ditzkoff at the upfronts, who says that FX has also announced that they're developing a TV series called "How & Why," from Charlie Kaufman, the Oscar-winning writer of "Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." Kaufman's had difficulties financing what was meant to be his next feature, "Frank or Francis," but he does have other projects floating around, including a reteam with Spike Jonze. He's been looking at alternate work too, Kickstarting an animated film and writing young adult adaptation "The Knife Of Never Letting Go" for Lionsgate.
This also isn't his first brush with TV, as Kaufman was announced a couple of years ago as developing a TV series at HBO, to star his regular collaborator Catherine Keener. So is "How & Why" the same show, put into turnaround at HBO and picked up by their rivals? Or is it something else entirely? Well, according to Deadline, this series focuses on a male character who knows 'how and why a nuclear reactor works, but is clueless about life.' Hopefully this means that the HBO project is still happening, but we suspect it might be dead by now. There's more on the way too -- as previously announced, Guillermo Del Toro is producing an adaptation of his novel "The Strain," and Ang Lee is directing the pilot for show "Tyrant."