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Noah Hawley has written novels, screenplays and many television scripts. Today, he’s best known for creating the award-winning series Fargo on FX. The black comedy stands out in an overcrowded TV market--one that Hawley thinks will eventually have to shrink. He shares his thoughts on “Peak TV” and why he doesn’t mind sometimes having to defend his work to network executives.

Photo: Noah Hawley (Miller Mobley/FX)

Hollywood News Banter 6 MIN, 15 SEC

Indiewire executive editor Michael Schneider joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • Emmy nominations are out, and for once, critics aren’t upset. There was less “rubbing-stamping” of perennially nominated shows, and HBO, FX and Netflix emerged as big winners.
  • Game of Thrones and The People v. O.J. Simpson received the most nominations, while The Americans and Mr. Robot broke through and are two of the most exciting additions to the race.
  • There were some snubs, though. Orange is the New Black was shut out of Best Drama and the acting categories. And for the first time in 16 years, there’s no Comedy Central show nominated in the Variety Talk Show category. Somewhat awkwardly for CBS, James Corden’s show was nominated, but Stephen Colbert’s was not.

Michael Schneider, Indiewire / Variety (@Franklinavenue)

Noah Hawley, ‘Fargo’ 21 MIN, 17 SEC

Among those just nominated for Emmy this year is our guest today, writer-producer Noah Hawley, creator of the FX limited series Fargo.

This is the second nomination for the show in as many seasons--in 2014, Fargo won for Outstanding Miniseries. Hawley is nominated for writing, as he was in the previous season, and this time, also for directing.

Fargo takes its tone from the 1996 Coen brothers movie--it takes place in the same bleak, frigid midwestern setting and shares the same dark humor. The narrative is not linear: season 2 , set in 1979, was a prequel to season 1.


The ensemble cast from the most recent season included Emmy nominees Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Jean Smart and breakout Bokeem Woodbine.

Hawley has been writing for television for more than a decade--he got his start on the Fox crime procedural Bones and created the series The Unusuals and My Generation for ABC. These days he makes his TV home at FX. In addition to overseeing the forthcoming 3rd season of Fargo, he’s also executive producing Legion, based on the Marvel comic book character of the same name.

But Hawley doesn’t just stick to TV. Earlier this summer he released his fifth novel--a mystery-thriller called Before the Fall. He’ll also be writing the film adaptation of the book for Sony.

Hawley recently sat down with Michael Schneider and Joe Adalian, hosts of the KCRW podcast The Spin-off. They talked about the differences between writing for film and television, why Hawley has no desire to work in broadcast TV again, and challenges Hawley faced in crafting Season 2 of Fargo after the success of season 1.

Noah Hawley, author and producer (@noahhawley)

Watch 'Fargo' on FX
Listen to Noah Hawley’s full conversation on KCRW The Spin-off


Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

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