In a subtle apparent reference to this year’s presidential race, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf told a New York gathering today to respect the power of story telling — but not be taken in by “reassuringly simple answers to our deepest fears” and “a seductive set of lies.”
“Stories unite us” and provide the foundation for “our entire civilization,” he said at a Center for Communications lunch where he he was given its annual Frank Stanton Award. It goes to those who make an “indelible mark on the media landscape and exemplify leadership within the industry.”
The event mostly provided an opportunity for peers and FX stars to praise and poke fun at the exec who says he’ll probably be remembered as “the idiot who passed on Breaking Bad.”
Comedian Louis C.K. says that at FX he makes “about half as much money as I make on the road” doing stand-up. But he praised Landgraf’s ability to persuade higher-ups who are “not as cool as he is” to approve shows that “take a little more patience” and “leave you with questions.”
AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan riffed on Landgraf’s claim that TV networks produce more scripted shows than the market can bear. Michelle Obama has also said that there’s too much television, he noted. “Like some other people, John is not thinking original thoughts,” he says — an apparent reference to Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention that included several lines that were nearly identical to ones the First Lady used in 2008.
The Americans‘ stars Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell also showed. She called Landgraf “a rare bird” because “he’s such a supporter of art.”