Home » Did HBO Miss Out on Soderbergh’s The Knick?

Did HBO Miss Out on Soderbergh’s The Knick?

by Tony Leopold
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Steven Soderbergh is a rare sort of director. His work on huge blockbusters such as Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven, and Magic Mike has made him a reliable commodity to the studio executives who care for nothing but tickets sold. His work on Out of Sight, Bubble, and Side Effects has earned him respect from film lovers who prefer movies that are more personal and that tell a smaller, more intimate tale. 
Soderbergh first became involved with HBO in 2003 when they agreed to air his show K Street, which was about a political consulting group in Washington. It lasted for 10 episodes and was given mostly mediocre reviews. Nevertheless, HBO knew how talented Soderbergh was and was eager to do other projects with him onboard. This led to him serving as executive producer for a series entitled Unscripted, which involved three actors who were trying to find their big Hollywood break. That 2005 series only lasted one season, just as K Street did. It wouldn’t be until 2013 that Soderbergh teamed back up with HBO, this time for a film. Behind the Candelabra, the film about Liberace and his young lover, was a critical and rating success, grabbing a ton of press and attention from the media. 
Soderbergh’s next television project, The Knick, is a medical drama starring Clive Owen and is set to premiere sometime in 2014. With Soderbergh directing every single episode of its ten episode first season and a known talent like Clive Owen set to star, the project is being highly anticipated by many fans of HBO and good, quality drama.  Here’s a trailer:

Except it is not on HBO.
How could HBO, with the history and relationship it has established with Soderbergh, lose out on The Knick?
It’s simple, really: Soderbergh wanted the show to premiere in 2014, but HBO already had a pretty full slate with True Blood, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom, True Detective, Girls, Looking, Silicon Valley, John Oliver: LWT, Doll and Em, The Leftovers, and Vice already on the schedule.
Luckily, HBO is owned by Time-Warner, who also owns a little cable channel called Cinemax. And it just so happens that Time-Warner would like to increase the quality of Cinemax’s original programing. Time-Warner suggested that Soderbergh put The Knick on Cinemax and apparently he agreed.
If The Knick is successful at Cinemax, and there is reason to believe that it will be, then could this be the beginning of something special at Cinemax? One thing is for sure; having Soderbergh onboard will only tilt the odds in Cinemax’s favor. 
While we are an HBO-centric community we understand that many HBO subscribers are also Cinemax subscribers as the two are often packaged together.  You won’t find a massive amount of coverage for these shows here but we’ll be sure to get you the main points of interest since a lot of the people, properties and show-runners are intertwined between these two networks and they look to be becoming more so in the very near future.  HBO and Cinemax are sister networks if there ever were such a thing.
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Iain June 16, 2014 - 8:49 am

Those Cinemax shows such as Banshee and Strike Back are shown on HBO Canada. The Knick is starting here in August.

Weez March 19, 2014 - 9:39 pm

I always wondered why there wasn’t a little more coverage on Cinemax here. They’ve been putting out a lot of good shows lately, even if they’re not on the same level as those found on HBO. I’ve really enjoyed Banshee and Strike Back, and am definitely looking forward to The Strike.

Seeing as HBO sometimes has promotions for Cinemax original programming, they seem to be more complementary than competition. And, like Showtime and Starz, attempt to target slightly different demographics with their programming.


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