/// FX Is the Edgiest and Most Prolific Drama Producer on Ad-Supported TV
Not so long ago, the prospect of an established actor accepting a role on a television series was as remote as the moons of Saturn. Backsliding from film to the boob tube was a tacit admission of defeat, one that could only lead to the purgatory that was a seat inside a garishly lit 6-foot-square window, flanked by your newfound friends and peers Dixie Carter and ALF. Billy Bob Thornton remembers it well. “When I was coming up, we all did television initially, and that was OK,” he says, speaking from the Calgary set of Fargo , an adaptation of Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 theatrical . “I’d get a bit part on Hunter or Matlock or Evening Shade, but if you were already established and you did TV, it meant the next stop was Hollywood Squares.” While certainly in no danger of fading into the long twilight of syndicated game-show obscurity, Thornton says the changing face of the independent film marketplace has made it increasingly difficult to tell the stories he’d like to pursue as a writer and an actor. “The $20-30 million adult drama, the medium-budget independent film, is a vanishing breed,” Thornton says. “Especially an adult drama with humor, which is my wheelhouse. Television has taken the place of those films. And there’s nothing wrong with that.”
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