In 2006, comedian Louis C.K. had an ill-fated HBO sitcom titled “Lucky Louie.”
It was the network’s first (and last) show to be filmed before a live studio audience with a multiple-camera setup.
So it wasn’t exactly surprising when, a few years later, Louis C.K. shot a half hour sketch comedy pilot for HBO, but the network decided not to pick up.
Shortly after, FX — the Fox-owned network that is home to “Sons of Anarchy,” and “American Horror Story” — green-lighted “Louie,” a dark half hour comedy about a divorced comedian with two kids living in New York. The show is written, directed, edited, and produced by the show’s creator, Louis C.K.
After premiering in 2010, “Louie” slowly picked up steam, won over fans and critics, and will soon be headed into a fifth season.
“Louie” casting director Gayle Keller, who has collaborated with Louis C.K. on the majority of his projects since 2001, tells Business Insider that working on an FX show (which is basic cable) has been so different from their short-lived life at premium cable network, HBO.
“HBO is a little bit more involved, just like any other network I’ve worked for — ABC, CBS, NBC — and everyone’s just more involved in the scripts and the casting. But in ‘Louie,’ it’s really just Louis C.K..
At FX, Louis has such a special relationship with John Langraf [FX president]. They just worked out this really nice deal for him that Louis can kind of have anonymity, write the scripts, direct them, and edit them without really any involvement from the network.”
Having no involvement from a network is “unusual,” adds Keller. “Because Louis produces the show with his production company, Pig Newton, we’re our own entity. We kind of just do our thing, and then just hand it over to FX.”
Keller thinks the network’s hands-off approach is a good one.
“Creatively, it’s very productive and it’s proven successful for this show. It allows for a creative connection with the director and the writers and executive producer because we’re such a small group of people working together. Now that we’ve been doing it for four years together, we just know the flow and we know what Louis wants, what he likes, and it’s so much more productive.
Louis is just so clear of his vision. He knows exactly what he wants 95% of the time, so we all manage to find people who work well together and can make that happen.”
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