It's an understatement to say that the second season of True Detective was a disappointment. After an addictive first season that racked up five Emmys and nearly universal critical acclaim, expectations couldn't have been higher for the second season—and yet, despite an all-star cast, it just fell flat.
And it may have been a flop because of the execs at the very top. In an interview with the radio show The Frame, Michael Lombardo, HBO's president of programming, took the fall for the decline in the show's quality.
Lombardo said that he wouldn't necessarily consider season two a "failure" (naturally, since it's his network and all). But he did say that any shortfalls may have been because the network restricted showrunner Nic Pizzolatto:
"When we tell somebody to hit an airdate as opposed to allowing the writing to find its own natural resting place, when it's ready, when it's baked—we've failed. And I think in this particular case, the first season of True Detective was something that Nic Pizzolatto had been thinking about, gestating, for a long period of time. He's a soulful writer. I think what we did was go, 'Great.' And I take the blame. I became too much of a network executive at that point. We had huge success. 'Gee, I'd love to repeat that next year.' Well, you know what? I set him up. To deliver, in a very short time frame, something that became very challenging to deliver. That's not what that show is. He had to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Find his muse. And so I think that's what I learned from it. Don't do that anymore."
The network just renewed its deal with Pizzolatto through 2018, but there's still no word on a third season of True Detective. If there will be a new season, here's hoping they give him some breathing room.