FX's original drama Justified (formerly known as Lawman) premieres this Tuesday at 10pm. Based on a popular character, Ralylan Givens, from an Elmore Leonardshort story, the show focuses on U.S. Marshal in Kentucky payed by Timothy Olyphant.
I didn't see a screener, so I can't give this the rave review that many are giving it. But it doesn't matter. Regardless, I'll predict now, before the show even airs its premiere, and before I've seen it or the ratings that there is absolutely no chance that it won't be renewed.
FX doesn't have that many one hour scripted dramas. It has my favorite show, Sons of Anarchy, and that's coming back. There's Damages which is probably not coming back unless an Emmy or two really do turn ratings lemons into lemonade. Nip Tuck is already finished and FX has already announced Rescue Me will end in 2011.
My guess is what they will hope for with Justified is that it at least does something similar to Sons of Anarchy, where it gets decent numbers in its first year. In its first year Sons of Anarchy averaged a 1.1 rating with adults 18-49 (1.46 million 18-49 viewers), in its second year it averaged a 1.9 rating with adults 18-49 (2.56 million 18-49 viewers). Those kind of numbers will get you canceled on the broadcast networks, but on cable, that's a monster hit.
What if it averages a Damages-esque, .2 rating with only around a measly 260,000 adults 18-49 watching? Honestly, I don't think there's any chance that happens. If it does, my guess is John Landgraf will fire one or more people and still renew the show anyway!
Below is the press release from last summer announcing the pick-up:
FX CALLS LAWMAN
Drama Series from Graham Yost Based on Elmore Leonard Character
Stars Timothy Olyphant
FX Orders 13 Episodes from Sony Pictures Television and FX Productions
Premieres Spring 2010
LOS ANGELES, July 28, 2009 – FX has placed a 13-episode order for its next original drama series, Lawman, which was developed by Graham Yost (Boomtown, Speed) and stars Timothy Olyphant (Damages, Deadwood), announced John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks. Lawman will premiere on FX in spring of 2010.
Produced by Sony Pictures Television and FX Productions, Lawman is based on the popular Elmore Leonard character “Raylan Givens” featured in his short story Fire in the Hole. Yost, who created and produced the critically acclaimed NBC drama Boomtown, wrote the pilot and will serve as Executive Producer/Writer on the series. Leonard (Cuba Libre, Rum Punch, Get Shorty) will serve as an Executive Producer on the series along with Sarah Timberman (Kidnapped), Carl Beverly (Kidnapped) and Michael Dinner (Karen Sisco), who directed the pilot episode. The pilot was shot in Pittsburgh and Miami, and series production will take place in Southern California beginning this fall.
“FX has been fortunate to employ some of the finest writers working in television and we’re lucky to add an outstanding talent like Graham Yost to that growing list,” said Landgraf. “Graham began with a memorable character from one of America’s foremost crime novelists, Elmore Leonard, and we scored the hat trick signing Tim Olyphant who is absolutely pitch-perfect in the role of Raylan Givens.”
“Like the other shows we’ve partnered on with FX – The Shield, Rescue Me and Damages – the pedigree of talent behind and in front of the camera on Lawman is outstanding,” said Zack Van Amburg, President, Programming, Sony Pictures Television. “This gripping narrative of justice being served has such universal themes, it’s sure to resonate with FX’s viewers.”
Olyphant stars in the lead role of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. Givens is a modern day 19th century-style lawman, enforcing his brand of justice in a way that puts a target on his back with criminals and places him at odds with his bosses in the Marshal service. That conflict results in a reassignment for Givens to the U.S. District covering the town where he grew up. He is an anachronism – a tough, soft spoken gentleman who finds his quarry fascinating, but never gives an inch. Dig under his placid skin and you’ll find an angry man who grew up hard in rural Kentucky, with an outlaw father, who knows a lot more about who he doesn’t want to be than who he really is.
Olyphant starred in HBO’s award-winning drama Deadwood, and he co-starred FX’s award-winning drama series Damages last season. Some of his feature films credits include Live Free or Die Hard, Hitman and The Girl Next Door.
The series co-stars Nick Searcy (CSI) as Givens longtime friend and boss “Art Mullen,” and Jacob Pitts (21) and Erica Tazel (Life) as Deputy Marshals “Tim Gutterson” and “Rachel Dupree.” Guest stars include Walton Goggins (The Shield), Joelle Carter (CSI: Miami) and Natalie Zea (Dirty Sexy Money). Lawman is produced by FX Productions, Timberman-Beverly Productions, Nemo Films and Rooney McP Productions, Inc in association with Sony Pictures Television.
For FX, Lawman is the tenth drama series ordered by the network since its rollout of scripted dramas in March of 2002. Other drama series include Emmy® and Golden Globe® award winners The Shield and Nip/Tuck; Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Rescue Me; Over There; Emmy Award winner Thief (received a limited series six-episode order); Dirt; Emmy and Golden Globe nominated The Riches; and Emmy and Golden Globe award winner Damages, starring Glenn Close, and Sons of Anarchy which returns for its second season on September 8.
Lawman is the seventh show produced under the FX Productions banner – Sons of Anarchy (co-produced with Fox 21), Damages (co-produced with Sony Pictures Television), The Riches (co-produced with Fox Television Studios), Dirt (co-produced with ABC Television Studios), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and 30 Days.
FX is the flagship general entertainment basic cable network from the Fox Networks Group. Launched in June of 1994, FX is carried in more than 95 million homes. The diverse schedule includes a growing roster of critically acclaimed and award-winning original series; an established film library with box-office hits from 20th Century Fox and other studios; and an impressive roster of acquired hit series. For more information about FX, visit our web site at www.FXnetworks.com