Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Showrunners of the Showtime cancer comedy The Big C were split originally in their relative level of optimism over whether they thought the show would be renewed to wrap up the story, as they related this afternoon during a TCA panel promoting The Big C: Hereafter. The new title reflects the show’s new format in its fourth and final season. Showtime is sending it off with four hour-long installments, miniseries-style, after it existed previously as a half-hour. The opportunity to give Big C a conclusion of any sort was appreciated by exec producers Jenny Bicks and Darlene Hunt, who offered differing views on whether this day would ever come. Bicks believed that it would. “I felt optimistic that we’d be able to finish it”, she said. Hunt admitted she was less positive. “I felt certain that it wasn’t coming back,” she said. “I kept hearing we were on the cusp and they weren’t sure” about bringing the show back. Happily, she was wrong and Bicks right.
Bicks recalled during the session how the idea for the conclusion came about. “The ending came out of a lovely conversation with (Showtime entertainment chief) David Nevins. We spoke specifically about how important it was to give it a proper ending. We spoke about the themes of the show. I really felt that we were involved in the conversation and it was a group decision to do it in a really special way.” She added that it would have been unthinkable to leave fans of the series hanging. “You can’t dangle a show set within the context of cancer and time and not be respectful of that.”
For her part, star and exec producer Laura Linney said she was pleased with the way things are wrapping up on Big C. But she added, “The lesson I learned is that over and over again, in anything creative, nothing is going to be the way you think it’s going to be, ever. It’s the joy of the artistic experience. It always goes in different directions and surprises you.”