The Watchman: Gallaghers Still 'Shameless,' FX Fearless, Landgraf Never Speechless

A new season of stylishly scuzzy Shameless is here, kicking off with a sublime underwater sequence featuring the feuding Gallaghers. Star William H. Macy had his castmates over for the premiere party, as the gang saluted seven seasons on Showtime. 

Exec producer Nancy Pimental says the family vibe has helped Shameless stay fresh. “People are constantly changing and evolving and growing up,” she says. “Sometimes they fly the coop, and then realize they belong at home.” 

Pimental initially envisioned eight seasons, but is rethinking that. “I think it can keep going on forever,” she says. “I really do.” 

Speaking of dark comedies, FX chief John Landgraf got roasted at the Center for Communication shindig in New York late last week. It’s a good, profane, Friars Club-esque roast, and Landgraf knew what he was in for. “If you can’t take a good, swift kick in the nuts,” he told B&C beforehand, “you shouldn’t be in this business.”

Roasters included Louis C.K., Americans stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys and AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan. “When I met John Landgraf, I was a touring comedian,” said C.K. “A couple years later, I was making television and winning Emmy awards—and making about half as much money. I’m back on the road now, so I can afford to make television on FX.” 

Landgraf’s great skill, said C.K., is not so much greenlighting peculiar projects but getting his bosses to pay for them. He imagined Landgraf’s pitch to his superiors for Louie, about “a comedian, he’s 39, nobody’s talking about him, he’s kind of heavy and balding and gross,” said C.K. “Somehow, he gets them to say, ‘Yeah, sure.’”

Sapan touted Landgraf’s taste and FX’s “level of, almost, beauty [that] one doesn’t find in television.”

Landgraf, for his part, delivered a philosophical homily on stories’ role in civilization that touched on the industrial revolution, the printing press and the creation of technology. He also saluted Sapan as a reminder that he once turned down a future hit show. Whatever he achieves in life, Landgraf said, his tombstone will read: “Loving husband to wife Ally, father to three beautiful boys and also the idiot who passed on Breaking Bad.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.