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‘True Detective’ Director Shuffle: Jeremy Saulnier Exits, Daniel Sackheim Signs On (EXCLUSIVE)

There’s been a shuffle among the directors for season three of “True Detective,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Jeremy Saulnier is exiting the show after completing the first two episodes, while veteran TV helmer Daniel Sackheim has joined the series. Sackheim will divide up the directing assignments on the remaining six episodes with series creator/exec producer Nic Pizzolatto, marking his directorial debut.

HBO confirmed the switch in a statement issued Friday, citing scheduling conflicts as the reason for Saulnier’s departure. He had been expected to helm the first three episodes.

“Director and executive producer Jeremy Saulnier has completed the first two episodes of ‘True Detective’ Season 3 and will be departing the production due to scheduling issues. Daniel Sackheim has come on board as a director and executive producer for the series alongside series creator and director Nic Pizzolatto,” HBO said.

The network is said to be happy with the scripts for the third season, which revolves around a strange crime that takes place in the Ozarks. Mahershala Ali and Carmen Ejogo lead the ensemble cast. Sources said the filming on location in Arkansas has been tough at times, and that Pizzolatto and Saulnier had differences of opinion on the episodes.

Saulnier made his mark as the director of such indie features as 2013’s “Blue Ruin” and 2015’s “Green Room,” which made a splash at the 2016 Sundance fest. He just recently wrapped production on a thriller for Netflix, “Hold the Dark.” He is in the process of deciding between a number of projects for his next directorial project.

After lensing wrapped on the second “True Detective” episode, it became clear the the shooting schedule for the third would run longer than expected, which would have been challenging for Saulnier given his ambition to take on other projects.

Sackheim is a TV veteran who earned an Emmy for directing “NYPD Blue.” His recent work includes episodes of “Game of Thrones,” serving as director/executive producer of FX’s “The Americans,” Amazon’s upcoming “Jack Ryan” series, and Fox’s “House.”

Season one of “True Detective” was helmed entirely by Cary Fukunaga; he was replaced in season two by a rotating lineup of directors including Justin Lin. “True Detective” season three is not expected to arrive on HBO until 2019.

(Pictured: Jeremy Saulnier and Daniel Sackheim)

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