Were They Killing Horses Or Something? HBO Passes On Noah Baumbach's 'The Corrections'

Television
by Kevin Jagernauth
May 1, 2012 4:51 PM
16 Comments
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Well, call it karma or something. While we were thrilled that HBO picked up "True Detective," a new crime series that will star Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, with Cary Fukunaga ("Jane Eyre," "Sin Nombre") directing, it looks like another starry project unfortunately won't be going forward.

The network has passed on Noah Baumbach's "The Corrections," produced by Scott Rudin. Based on the acclaimed novel by Jonathan Franzen, the project lined up an incredile slate of talent with Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Dianne Wiest, Rhys Ifans and Greta Gerwig on board for the story of a dysfunctional and repressed Midwestern family. Ambitions were very, very high for the project which, if the two-hour pilot had passed the test at HBO, was being planned for four ten-episode seasons, presumably greatly expanding the scope of the book. But for whatever reason, HBO has decided not to move on. According to Deadline, the network liked the pilot but thought the time jumping narrative was going to be too tricky to translate to television.

This is another show to get the death blow in 2012 at HBO, following "Luck" which was axed after one accident on set too many, as well as Spike Lee's drama "Da Brick" with "Attack The Block" star John Boyega, which also didn't get past pilot stage. It's a bummer, and a blow for Baumbach who has been trying to get something mounted since "Greenberg" ("While We're Young" seems to be stuck in perpetual limbo), and with that cast and source material it seemed like a no brainer.

We presume Rudin will have the right to shop it elsewhere if he so desires, so it will be interesting to see if that happens. With this talent attached it might be attractive to a rival network, but until then, can we see that pilot? [Variety]

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16 Comments

  • Ryan Sartor | May 2, 2012 9:24 AMReply

    Funniest headline of the year.

  • Oogle monster | May 1, 2012 8:43 PMReply

    I vote FX.

  • Mike | May 1, 2012 8:13 PMReply

    I really wish Da Brick was shopped elsewhere, I was looking forward to it. With these 2 axed before they began and Luck ended abruptly their slate of new dramas after the Newsroom has to be a little thin.

  • Stephen B | May 1, 2012 7:28 PMReply

    Shame, but yeah, this looks like it might have cost a pretty penny to produce. Would love to see it on Showtime or Starz.

  • Matthew Lingo | May 1, 2012 7:05 PMReply

    While it's a shame that we may never see this, I don't think it's the worst thing that this show won't go to series. HBO was once one of (if not THE) most groundbreaking, visionary television channels in the history of the medium, but as of late they've been resting on their laurels a little bit, snapping up prestige literature and filling them with stars. Sure, we get a Luck here or a Newsroom there, and some of these adaptation shows ARE good (Game of Thrones), but in putting so many of them on the air it's hard not to feel like the channel is going with what's safe. In short, if losing The Corrections makes space for original voices like Milch or Simon or even Lena Dunham, I'd say it's a fair trade.

  • Matthew Lingo | May 1, 2012 9:10 PM

    Those 2, plus their recent acquisition of the rights to A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, as well as Poison, the Todd Haynes/Julianne Moore project. What's more, The Kids Are All Right isn't that far from what I'm speaking of either--an adaptation of a known property. There's nothing wrong with that if the results are good, but it's definitely more risk-averse than the channel can be and has been.

  • Mike | May 1, 2012 8:11 PM

    All these adaptations? There are a grand total of 2, Game of Thrones & True Blood. And adaptation or not Game of Thrones is the most ambitious series on television. Simon and Dunham already have their spots on HBO, but it's their event series like TB & GOT that provide the budgets for not-so-revenue-heavy shows like Treme. So a series like the Corrections would only have helped get more original series on the air. Oh well. As for Milch, I'd be really surprised if he wanted to work with HBO again after his shows have been so poorly treated.

  • Bummer | May 1, 2012 5:35 PMReply

    probably had to make room on their schedule for more "original programming" like 'Girls'

  • Kevin Klawitter | May 1, 2012 5:24 PMReply

    I'm always curious what happens to these pilots that are filmed but never picked up. Are they just left on the shelf to collect dust? Like "The Miraculous Year". Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, written by John Logan, starring Lee Pace, Eddie Redmayne, Susan Sarandon, Hope Davis, and Frank Langella, and axed by HBO for possibly being too much of a niche audience.

    I think it would be a good idea for HBO to release a set of the pilots on DVD, to give people an idea of why they choose the series they do. I know Dane Cook did something like that once, but it goes beyond stating the obvious that pilots rejected by HBO would have a bit of a higher standard than sticoms starring Dane Cook.

  • James | May 1, 2012 7:56 PM

    Yep, they're all collecting dust on shelves somewhere. But I don't think HBO could compile them for release, as I doubt HBO owns them all. The original production companies own them, and probably have no great desire to have them out there as failed pilots.

  • rodie | May 1, 2012 5:10 PMReply

    The only thing worse than a Noah Baumbach-directed film would be 40 episodes of Noah Baumbach-directed television. Squid and the Whale was good, but otherwise as a director he's very much overrated.

  • 88 | May 1, 2012 6:02 PM

    The Gospel According to Rodie.

  • Porter | May 1, 2012 5:03 PMReply

    Really was looking forward to this...

  • rachel | May 1, 2012 5:03 PMReply

    i wonder if the budget was going to be too big to sustain and still pull the numbers that HBO needs. Clearly, this wasn't going to pull True Blood or GoT numbers, but that cast had to be getting paid well for that sort of commitment. It's a total bummer, but i'd have to imagine this one is all about money.

  • a | May 1, 2012 4:58 PMReply

    Wow. Bummer.

  • Rob F | May 1, 2012 4:54 PMReply

    Holy shit... that is just baffling. And totally unfortunate. Would've loved to see this happen

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