As the possibility of a third season of “Big Little Lies” picks up steam, HBO and Max content chairman/CEO Casey Bloys is ready for it. Bloys confirmed to Variety that he has heard “a little bit about the idea. I think it could be great.”
“Big Little Lies” stars and executive producers Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman have teased the prospect of a new season of the series — which last aired in 2019 — while speaking to reporters in recent weeks. At the 81st Golden Globes this month, Witherspoon told Variety’s Marc Malkin that “We are working on it. Nic and I have been working on it a lot.”
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Bloys said that he believes that Witherspoon and Kidman have been in touch with “Big Little Lies” author Liane Moriarty about ways to expand the storyline and characters. Bloys also said he expects that David E. Kelley, who adapted Moriarty’s 2014 novel into the 2017 series and 2019 sequel season, would be involved as well.
“Big Little Lies” follows a group of women in Monterey, Calif. — played by Witherspoon, Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoë Kravitz — who are caught up in a homicide investigation. Season 2, which premiered in February 2019, introduced Meryl Streep to the main cast as Kidman’s mother-in-law.
“Where you have all these stars, you’ve got to get their schedules in line, we have to get it written,” Bloys said. “So, there’s a lot that needs to be done. It’s very early stages right now. The entire cast is doing shows and movies, and everybody’s very busy. But it’s a very special group. They love working together. And when they land on an idea, I believe they will make it happen. We’re excited when they’re ready, and we will take those steps when they’re ready.”
The momentum comes a few years after the death of “Big Little Lies” director Jean-Marc Vallée, whose passing led actors like Kravitz to suggest in the press that future seasons were unlikely now. Bloys had also in the past said it was unlikely that there would be more “Big Little Lies,” telling reporters in 2019 that “to me, there’s no obvious place to go, no obvious story.” But even back then, he said he’d be willing to change his mind — and now that chance seems even more real.
Bloys spoke to Variety following HBO/Max’s network-leading haul at the 75th Emmys. The cabler and streamer won 31 total Emmys between the Primetime and Creative Arts shows, including six major wins for “Succession.”
“Succession,” honored with yet another win for outstanding drama series, has ended its run after four seasons. But both Bloys and creator Jesse Armstrong know they’ll be asked about a revival for years to come.
“The chances of that are pretty unlikely,” Bloys said. “Unless Jesse all of a sudden said, ‘Oh my God, I have the greatest idea. This is what I want to do.’ I would take that very seriously. But I think that he told the story he wanted to tell. It doesn’t seem to be something that he wants to visit again, and I totally get that. I’m excited with what he’s going to do next.”
So, what is Armstrong, who has a deal at HBO, going to do next? “He doesn’t have an idea,” Bloys said. “I think it’s going to take some time. A little bit of downtime, maybe, take a break, read. Not think about TV for a little while, which is just fine with me. After doing this show for four seasons and doing it at the level he’s done, I would encourage him to take a little break and think about things. I don’t think it’s a good idea to rush right into something. What I want to do with him is the next thing that he can’t shake.”
With “House of the Dragon,” “Euphoria,” “The White Lotus” and “The Last of Us” not returning for new seasons until after the current Emmy eligibility calendar, Bloys admits that the drama cupboard will be slim for the 2024 awards cycle. Instead, “I have a lot of great limited series,” he said, pointing to “True Detective: Night Country” with Jodie Foster, “The Regime” with Kate Winslet and “The Sympathizer” with Robert Downey Jr. Bloys says he has talked to “True Detective” filmmaker Issa Lopez about more ideas and a potential Season 5 that doesn’t take another five years between editions — but he has nothing to report yet.
On the drama front, “House of the Dragon” won’t be back for Season 2 until summer 2024 — although Bloys confirms that work has already started on drafting Season 3. “They’re talking about it,” he said. “One of the things is because it’s all based on George R.R. Martin’s history, they have to map it out pretty carefully season by season. So, they are starting to talk about the stories they want to tell in Season 3.”
“The Last of Us” also goes back into production soon for Season 2 — and after everyone saw star Pedro Pascal’s arm in the sling in recent weeks, there’s been some question about whether that will impact shooting. Bloys said not to fear: “I think they figured out a way,” he said. “I can’t tell you exactly what the production plan is. But I know that they have taken that into account. I don’t even know the exact nature of the injury, but I know that production has figured out a way to work around it.”
Then there’s “The White Lotus,” set to start production soon in Thailand now that the new cast has been set. With Season 1’s Natasha Rothwell returning, just as Jennifer Coolidge did in Season 2, Bloys (who plans to travel overseas and visit the set soon) said he likes creator Mike White’s formula of bridging each season with one returning cast member. And he hints that more “Lotus” is to come: “I’m already excited about who is going to come back for Season 4. It really is a fun model that Mike has set up.”
As for “Euphoria,” Bloys isn’t ready to reveal whether the upcoming Season 3 will be the show’s last, choosing to wait until creator/EP Sam Levinson makes that decision. “Obviously the cast have all become stars, which you love to see — and Zendaya is obviously a big movie star,” he said. “So, there is a practical reality to that. But it also depends on the stories Sam wants to tell. He’s in the thick of writing Season 3 right now and we’ll leave it up to him and have those conversations about what he wants to do.”
Someone who has always dictated whether or not to return is “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star and executive producer Larry David, so it was surprising that he decided to frame the comedy’s upcoming Season 12 as the show’s last. Even Bloys isn’t so sure it’s really over.
“For as long as I’ve been at HBO, we’ve had ‘Curb,’” Bloys said. “And it’s always been an open door. And look, even though he’s saying it’s the last season — and I think he has told the story he wants to tell — if in a couple years, he said I got one more idea, we would of course be open to that.”
Since we’re talking Emmys, and the broadcast wheel deal expiration is coming up in 2026, could Bloys see the kudocast moving to streaming or other outlets? HBO once made a big play to steal away the Emmy telecast rights in the early 2000s, but Bloys is dubious the network would try that again.
“Live events, award shows, they have been challenged on broadcast networks,” Bloys said. “I don’t know that it would be any better on streaming, where sometimes getting people to day-and-date events can be difficult. And then it ultimately becomes a question of economics. How much? I don’t know that it’s something we would jump in on. But I think all of the award shows are trying to figure that out. I don’t really have the answer.”
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