Email from Clancy Brown, aka Brother Justin.
(I'd post this but I don't want my E-mail address out there so please
pass any portion of this note along to the fans on the Yahoo group
whenever you see fit)
You've hit the nail on the head yet again! There is absolutely nothing
to read into the recent press releases about Dan and Tracy developing a
show for Showtime except that SOMEONE (read: Showtime or some cranky
entertainment beat writer) wanted to try to knock some of the luster off
of HBO's golden tower.
There are many reasons not to worry but the first and foremost is -
Howard executive produces at least three shows for different networks
that I know of and is currently paired with CARNIVALE writer William
Schmidt to develop a fourth for none other than HBO! Now I'll grant you
Howard is not the "Creator" of CARNIVALE or any of the other shows he
Exec Produces nor does he write or direct but he is deeply involved in
all of them AND finds
time to operate a top talent management company named 3 Arts (perhaps
you've seen the logo in the end credits of OUR show). Certainly a mind as
creative and facile as Dan's could manage to run an established show like
CARNIVALE as well as develop a few more ideas.
The second reason (almost as obvious as the first) is - HOWARD KLEIN
Tracy Torme is one of Howard's clients (and an old friend). Howard, and
by logical extension HBO, surely knew of Dan and Tracy shopping their
ideas around (although I'll bet HBO was surprised they landed at
Showtime!). Howard is the guy with the intimate relationships and
communication with HBO. To think this was somehow unexpected is absurd.
If HBO wanted to wrap either Dan or Tracy up exclusively, they could
have; but that's not the way it happens in TV. It's WAY too expensive to
pay someone NOT to play in another sandbox. Plus DK is very sought after
these days. By the time HBO makes up their mind about a third season, I
would expect DK to have at least three more development deals in place
all over town!
The question then becomes will we have a third season and; if so, will
HBO seek to sign Dan up again? My feeling is, "Yes and Yes!"
To the first part of the question - CARNIVALE is not finished. We know
that the final event in our story doesn't occur for another 10 or 11
years and we don't flash forward that far during the finale of season 2.
HBO wouldn't allow the story to end abruptly, it's not their style and
not their reputation. Caroline Strauss and Miranda Heller are smart
cookies who have made their names by taking chances on stories and
subjects and styles that have re-defined series television. And Chris
Albrecht, as the main architect of ALL of it, is not suddenly going to
start behaving like the middle managers that run some of the competition.
HIS vision of HBO as a place where creators are afforded the freedom to
pursue THEIR vision is what keeps HBO on top. Because of that, HBO enjoys
the preeminent place in Hollywood's creative community. It is the FIRST
place people approach with their BEST ideas.
To the second part of the question - read the last half of the above
paragraph. Dan loves CARNIVALE and HBO first. He is not discontent nor is
he a malcontent. I've asked him directly if he would sign on again. He
would in a heart-beat. But these are delicate issues in the beginning;
fraught with ego, strategy, and, ... well... ego. Who says what when
takes up a lot of brain-time in high places. Protocols real and imaginary
are expected to be ignored or honored depending on the phase of the moon
and violations are both admired and despised. Blah blah blah blah....
The truth is it is DK's story. He's the "creator" that is so esteemed by
the HBO model. There is no reason not to expect he will be back. Howard
can do a lot of useful things, but even Howard knows he's not a
story-teller. Howard knows that without Dan, this story will fall flat.
There are too many
disparate strands that support the grand design. There is too much
specialized detail that focus the audience in unexpected and compelling
ways. The characters, time, and setting are too specific to be entrusted
to a second-team back-up. I know it, the writers know it, Howard knows
it, Dan knows it, and HBO knows it. If there is any reason not to allow
Dan to finish telling his tale, I am unaware of it. I must conclude he
will not be allowed to be "the one that got away." (Especially to
I completely understand and empathize with some of the panic posters.
I've suffered through baffling decisions by suits. I don't trust 'em
either. Their nervousness about the future of CARNIVALE is informed and
grounded by experience. All I ask is that you give HBO the benefit of the
your skepticism be informed and eased by Albrecht's track record. Since
he took the reigns at HBO, the rules have changed. Why would CARNIVALE
suddenly inspire the iconoclasts at HBO to behave like sheep. No, they
are a different breed. And they are tenacious. They don't flail and whine
and look for escape hatches. They look you in the eye and green light
DEADWOOD, BIG LOVE, UNSCRIPTED, K STREET, SOPRANOS, SIX FEET UNDER, and
on and on.... These folks are horses of a different color. NOT birds of a
Now to the one sad truth, and the only part of your post that is less
than 100% true. Ben and Justin (Nick and I) are not essential going
forward. Never were. Actors (and sadly the characters they play) hardly
ever are. There are exceptions: Tony Soprano, Carrie Bradshaw, SpongeBob
Squarepants, etc. But ours is an ensemble that serves the story and story
is the star. Ben & Justin could continue but they just as well could not.
There are plenty of characters to carry on the continuity of theme and
narrative (most obviously - Samson). I wish this weren't true, but I have
to be honest...I would still be enthralled with this show even if I
weren't on it - perhaps moreso. Sorry but that's the reality.
Now having said that, there is only one person I would trust to make such
a transition correctly - Dan Knauf. Any other way would smell too much
like a "purge". So the only real indispensable "star" of this show is the
"creator" - Mr. Daniel Knauf. As Milch is to DEADWOOD and Ball is to SIX
FEET UNDER so too is Knauf to CARNIVALE.
So do not despair, fellow Carnys and Knauf-tic faithful. Let the
priesthood at HBO do what they will in their own time. They are wise and
bold and committed. They will make the right choice. It is self-evident.
I am sure that we will continue to tell the story and "...show you
terrible things...." (those 5 emmys right out of the gate didn't hurt
either. SOPRANOS didn't win that many their first season!)
Regards - Clancy