HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo is officially saying you can blame him for True Detective's lackluster sophomore season.
The HBO executive told The Frame that he rushed series creator Nic Pizzolatto into delivering a second season, which may explain why it felt unfocused and a poor imitation of the show's critically acclaimed first effort. "When we tell someone to hit an air date as opposed to allowing the writing to find its own natural resting place, when it's ready, when it's baked — we've failed," Lombardo said. "And I think in this particular case, the first season of True Detective was something that Nic Pizzolatto had been thinking about, gestating, for a long period of time."
Lombardo also says that he got too caught up in being an executive rather than being compassionate to the creative side of things. "I became too much of a network executive at that point. We had huge success. 'Gee, I'd love to repeat that next year,'" he said. "Well, you know what? I set him up. To deliver, in a very short time frame, something that became very challenging to deliver. That's not what that show is. He had to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Find his muse. And so I think that's what I learned from it. Don't do that anymore."
A third season of True Detective has not been announced (but may get official word during the HBO's day at the Television Critics Association winter previews) and Pizzolatto is still under exclusive contract with the network to produce content.
Still, Lombardo says he learned a lot from the experience and he won't be greenlighting more seasons of anything without seeing the script first. "I'd love to have the enviable certainty of knowing what my next year looks like," he said. "I could pencil things in. But I'm not going to start betting on them until the scripts are done."