HBO has inked an overall deal with “True Detective” creator Nic Pizzolatto through 2018, Variety has learned. Under the new pact, a number of new projects from Pizzolatto are being considered, including future installments of “True Detective,” though a third season is still not a sure thing.
However, the deal paves the way for a go-ahead decision for another season of “True Detective.” Sources say HBO has been looking to make a change in the way the show is run, given the critical response to the second season, and has presented Pizzolatto with a number of options. Those options include: him working with a staff of writers, having a new showrunner come in, as well as him going it alone again. In all scenarios, he would remain an exec producer.
Sources say HBO has been pressing Pizzolatto for an answer so they can move forward with production on the show.
The breakout season of “True Detective,” starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, quickly garnered critical acclaim and become a pop culture phenomenon, earning Emmy nominations for outstanding drama series, writing and lead actor for both McConaughey and Harrelson.
The sophomore season, starring Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams, has been reviewed as disappointing, slammed by both critics and fans.
“Those expecting anything approaching the magic conjured by the original Matthew McConaughey-Woody Harrelson pairing should immediately temper their enthusiasm for ‘True Detective’s’ second season, Variety‘s Brian Lowry said in his Season 2 review. “Although generally watchable, the inspiration that turned the first into an obsession for many seems to have drained out of writer Nic Pizzolatto’s prose, at least three hours into this eight-episode run.”
Despite less-than-stellar reception, “True Detective’s second run ended up averaging more same-night viewers (2.61 million) than Season 1 (2.33 million), according to Nielsen. But that was due to a big tune-in for the first couple of weeks of Season 2. The finale of the second season averaged 2.71 million, while the conclusion of the first drew a series-best 3.52 million, according to Nielsen.
In multi-platform gross viewing, an estimated 11.9 million viewers watched Season 1 on a weekly basis, according to HBO, while 11.3 million watched Season 2, indicating that viewers seemed more passionate about the original installment.
“I am thrilled to continue our relationship with Nic, as he is one of the most exceptionally talented writers and producers working today,” said Michael Lombardo, president of HBO programming. “I look forward to seeing where his unique creative vision will take us next.”
Pizzolatto has been under an overall deal with the premium cabler since 2014, the year “True Detective” debuted.
Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.