Kurt Sutter Cancels ‘The Bastard Executioner’ Via Hollywood Reporter Ad

18 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bastard Executioner canceled after only one season.

The show runner announced the end of the FX show, a swords-sandals-and-revenge drama set in 14th-century Wales, in an ad that appeared in outlets including Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Sutter claimed credit for ending his show in a trade ad, the Sons of Anarchy creator noting, “I don’t want to write something that nobody’s f—ing watching.” The Bastard Executioner is a rare example of an FX drama only lasting one season.Series creator and showrunner Kurt Sutter has gone to unusual lengths to salute the hard work that went into producing the show while boldly acknowledging that the ratings weren’t strong enough to justify a renewal. Indeed, if you watched the season finale (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t) and know what role Kurt Sutter played, it’s fair to say the show’s creator went out in a blaze of glory.

The “heartbreaking” decision, made in concert with FX Networks CEO John Landgraf, comes as the ambitious 14th century period drama lost more than half of its audience through its first six weeks on the air, falling from 4 million combined weekly viewers for its Sept. 15 premiere to just 1.9 million for episode six. The sword-and-sackcloth drama about the struggles of warrior knights in 12th century Wales proved to be “an acquired taste,” by Sutter’s admission. And in this age of reboots and contortions to keep series alive, there’s something refreshing about acknowledging that failure is simply a part of television, even if there was a little bit of “You can’t fire me, I quit” bravado underlying that, since FX would have likely reached the same conclusion. We couldn’t establish that core audience that allows you to figure out your advertising paradigm and whether or not the show is affordable.” Sutter is putting his money where is mouth is via an ad running in the Nov. 24 edition of Variety, among other outlets, thanking the “Bastard” cast and crew for their hard work.

The decision to end the show was made in consultation with John Landgraf, the chief executive of FX Networks, but the timing and delivery of the cancellation announcement was Mr. Yet even with ratings having splintered, TV – or at least, the kind of expensive drama that “The Bastard Executioner” represents – remains a medium that requires enough tonnage to justify the cost of production. It seems that, contrary to popular opinion, the showrunner isn’t dreaming up new (old) ways of torture purely for his own amusement. “I don’t write in a vacuum. This rather simple fact has been somewhat lost, thanks to the ability of premium services to sustain programs with narrow cult followings; and a proliferation of outlets, including streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, which have swept in to rescue a number of low-rated shows. He’s taking meetings about reviving his early film script, Delivering Gen, a love story between a junkie and a hit man; and he’s in search of the right writer to tackle his Sons’ Mayans spinoff for FX and 20th Century Fox TV, where he’s locked into a massive eight-figure, three-year deal.

At a certain point, though, there are only so many times people can renew “Community” when the audience – however loyal – comes a little too close to friends-and-relatives territory. He notified them in advance, he said. “Executioner” starred the Australian theater actor Lee Jones as a former soldier and farmer impersonating a punisher, for a variety of reasons. NBC’s Brandon Tartikoff often seemed to derive as much pleasure talking about something like “Manimal” or “The Misfits of Science” as his hits. I think some of it was because a lot of them are stage actors and Brits and they’re not plugged into the same shit the way L.A. actors are plugged into it, worrying about numbers and blah blah blah.

It was heartbreaking for me.” The bar was high for “Bastard” from the start as it was the follow-up to Sutter’s highly successful FX series “Sons of Anarchy,” which ended its seven-season run in 2014. “Bastard” opened to modest ratings on Sept. 15 and has declined steadily with each of its 10 episodes. Spend enough time perusing platforms populated by a few thousand like-minded enthusiasts or in a ballroom at Comic-Con, and it’s easy to draw the conclusion that everything’s a hit just because, well, everyone here likes it.

The final hour (OK, 93 minutes, just one of “Executioner’s” many excesses) even provided a modest element of closure – and something approaching a happy ending – for those who had invested their time watching all 10 episodes. And the trend lines were wrong, with the audience having dropped by more than 50% since the premiere, suggesting that for many, whatever curiosity existed at the outset didn’t survive the execution.

Everybody gave me the tools that I needed to do this job. … I just didn’t want to let it disappear without acknowledging the effort that everyone put into it.” The production process was hard on Sutter and his wife and “Bastard” co-star Katey Sagal, as it required long periods of separation from their 8-year-old daughter in Los Angeles. The pair tried to get home every couple of weeks during the 10-episode shoot that began in July and ended earlier this month. “It got a little crunchy toward the end,” Sutter said. “This show almost f—ing killed me.” As for what’s next, Sutter is hoping for a discovery along the lines of “Bastard Executioner,” which came through a pitch over lunch with Imagine’s Brian Grazer. And he’s working on a feature screenplay for producer Brian Oliver, “Delivering Gen.” “It was a dense mythology,” he said. “It was historically based. It takes more time for people to find those shows and to have the energy to sit and watch them. … My sense is a year from now when people have the time and energy, they’ll watch and some of them will be like, ‘What happened?’” I know that you basically have to establish a medium line, where you have your base and that’s your core audience and then you can go, “OK, can we build from that?

Can we sell ad time based on that?” But the problem was — and, look, I’m very proud of the show and many of the people who watched the show dug it — we were just ticking down a tenth of a point each week. John and I have been in touch the whole time, and it’s not like it had a chance and I said, “Let’s not take it.” But yes, it was a mutual decision in terms of the timing of it. Beside the obvious — pride and all that shit — it’s an epic mythology, and I really love the themes and every place that we were going to go with it. There was just this great sense of camaraderie and excitement around the project, and it was just sort of like, “Oh man.” It was really hard to be around that energy because it just made me sad. So I didn’t want to be away from my kid for six weeks and then come home and lock myself in the office for a week, which is usually what I end up doing.

There was no, “If that were different, it would have worked.” So there’s definitely the pride factor involved, but I feel like this was a big risk for me.

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