Deadwood and Live 'Sopranos'


HBO Chairman Chris Albrecht has been getting an inboxful of e-mail from viewers about Deadwood’s impending demise (after a lot of back-and-forth, HBO said last month it would end the show with two, two-hour specials rather than a full season).

"My favorite was, ‘may you never take an easy dump again,’" he told TV critics gathered in L.A.. "I sent that to a few friends," he added, "but being Italian, I knew that would never be a problem again.”

Albrecht said the reaction was only a fraction of what he got about Carnivale, HBO's freak show show it canned in 2005 after more awards than buzz. He noted that there’s often a "disconnect" between a show’s quality and the audience’s feel for it.

Albrecht, always a favorite of the critics, had no comment ("I don’t know what to say") about The Sopranos lack of Emmy nominations. The show, he says, will more likely be back in March, rather than January, since "Jimmy" had to have some unexpected knee surgery, that's James (Tony Soprano) Gandolfini.

Having seen what happens in the series’ final episodes, Albrecht says he has faith that "absolutely when the curtain comes down on The Sopranos, the vast, vast, vast majority of people will be able to say this was one of the great things of all time."

HBO is "pretty close" to commmiting to another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Albrecht says the network hoped to be able to announce the new season at TCA, but things aren’t quite ready yet.

HBO has been in talks with Larry David for months on the new season after the comic came to them and said he’d gotten inspired with new material.

Even that took months, said Albrecht, noting that, having known David for more than 30 years, "I know you don’t push him. He needed to be inspired. [David] said, ‘I want to sit around to see if something comes up and there are stories I want to tell.’" Odds are, Albrecht says, the new season – if there is one – will be the last.

As to the survival of individual Sopranos, Albrecht declined to say whether Tony lives through the final season. "Is anybody else interested in that?," he asked, in mock disbelief that she had asked the question. "I don’t want to bore you. What are you, high? I’m going to have to shoot myself in the head if I tell you that."

Albrecht says he does know what Sopranos creator David Chase is planning to do, but aded that Chase could "change things up" on HBO, too.

"I can just tell you that, in my opinion, it will not disappoint." The critic thanked Albrecht for the insight and clarified that "for the record," she wasn’t high.

By Anne Becker