HBO News Blog

HBO Refuses David Milch’s MONEY!

By Jef Dinsmore on Mar 5, 2014 to HBO News

It started with DEADWOOD, JOHN FROM CINCINNATI and LUCK.  David Milch’s creative relationship with HBO has been an interesting one and people_DavidMilchwe were all looking forward to the continuation of his body of work with our premium channel of choice. We were hoping it would be THE MONEY, but that is not to be.

HBOWatch has been tracking what we hoped was the next series from Mr. Milch. It first came to our attention with a mention at the Television Critics Association event last year. We have that notation from 07.25.13. Writer Cian Gaffney reported on 09.13.13 of its Pilot Order with Irish actor Brandon Gleeson onboard. We next fleshed out a bit of casting news a 10.05.13 post and again with a 11.14.13 one. After that we heard nothing, but obviously at that point the pilot was being shot and then delivered to HBO executives.

In case you haven’t hit all those links above, THE MONEY is a drama piece conceived and written by Milch about James Castman (Gleeson) an American mogul and patriarch who sits at the heart of power, influence and money and the corruption & control that goes with it. Along Mr. Gleeson Ray Liotta, Rosemary Harris, Mamie Gummer, Nathan Lane and others were in the cast. The series could have had a strong place at HBO though probably not as decadent as the recent movie The Wolf of Wall Street it certainly would have offered more of a punch than the current return of Dallas.

I love the factoid that Deadline.com pointed out on their piece that THE MONEY would have made the fifth consecutive pilot considered by HBO. We of course know of the three shows that made it to the screen – DEADWOOD with its own brand of American mogul named Al Swearingen (2004-2006); the quirky, surf drama JOHN FROM CINCINNATI (2006) and the ill-fated LUCK (2010). Does anyone remember the fifth pilot that obviously did not go to series? It would have been Milch’s return to police procedurals; don’t forget in the early days Mr. M. was a part of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. The pilot was called LAST OF THE NINTH and would have been set at the NYPD in the 1970’s. Maybe, now it will have a chance?

At any rate, though he does not have a perfect track record with HBO the network loves collaborating with him and just because THE MONEY did not go forward does not mean he won’t shop it elsewhere nor does it mean his relationship with HBO is concluded. In fact, there has been talk ReturntoDeadwoodover the past five years or so for David Milch to bring the works of William Faulkner to HBO. The best report I could find out about that project is a TIME magazine piece from 2011. Though that concept seems to have gone dormant it might once again resurface. We will watch for it.

Well, THE MONEY got away from us. From the few reports I have seen about the news there has been no official reason given for the series not coming to fruition. We can only hope that Mr. Milch will continue with HBO and develop something else that will stick, whether it is the Faulkner novels or something else. I know, how about “HBO Films: Return to Deadwood?” We shall see. 

  • Longbeachbitch

    Anyone know where I can read any of these failed hbo pilot scripts

  • Ryo Shenmue

    Well, the best television author of all time will write a six hours HBO mini series on Martin Luther King. No David Milch…but David Simon is still in the game.

    • Jef Dinsmore

      Yes, and I am writing a piece about it right now and will be up soon!

  • Godammit, HBO! I was looking forward to this, especially considering Gleeson was involved. Although, I’ve seen a few suggestions on various sites that Gleeson would be good in a future season of True Detective, and I have to agree.
    Excuse the godawful pun, but Milch just doesn’t seem to have much luck with HBO these days.

    • mwilson21

      To be fair, I’m not sure there’s any other network in existence that Milch would have any luck. His relationship with HBO has turned out one masterpiece (Deadwood), one show that could have been a masterpiece (Luck, which had a fantastic first season), and one show that could rightly be considered as one of the weirdest series’ ever (John From Cincinnati).

      Still, this is very disappointing news. Hopefully Milch has another prospective series on his mind that he can get to work on right away, because it’s doubtful that this show will get shopped at any other network.

    • I am too a fan of Gleeson. I’d love to see him on an HBO show.

  • timmy t

    Incredibly disappointing news. I was expecting to see a teaser soon and BAM, this hits us.

    I’d love to hear the rationale behind the decision because it looked like a great cast, a great story and of course, mother fucking Milch. Breaks my heart.

    Wonder if it would fly at Netflix, Showtime or Starz, where former HBO exec (through the Deadwood years) Chris Albrecht is CEO?

  • mwilson21

    I’m a huge HBO fan, but this news really pisses me off. With Game of Thrones, The Leftovers, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, and Getting On all being adapted from source material, and with the network green-lighting (straight to series, mind you) another re-make (Utopia)…

    I don’t know; just seems to me that they aren’t putting enough value into truly original content. Whether that has to do with the fact that there would be no built-in audience is irrelevant to me, honestly. I just want to see them continue to put out the kind of high-quality content we’ve come to expect from them (not that I think any of the aforementioned shows are bad; they’re mostly great, actually).

    The amount of talent involved with just the pilot for The Money made me think it would be a lock for a series order. It’s a real shame they passed on this for that reason, and because Milch is a genius, and because they’ve lost and/or are losing the majority of their drama line-up between this year and last year, and – most importantly to me – because the subject matter seemed perfectly suited to the times we live in.

    So for me, this feels kind of like a ‘strike one’ moment. I support HBO, in my own small way, through my subscription, buying home video releases, and generally just spreading the word. But if it’s all going to continue down this path of only investing in shows and mini-series/original movies that are based on pre-existing source material…










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