Pamela Adlons prickly dramedy, Better Things, is returning for a third season on February 28, FX said on Thursday. Adlon once again will be juggling multiple roles, much as her single working mother character does on the show: star, writer, executive producer, show-runner, and director of all 12 Season 3 episodes.
But there will be one major change this season: Louis C.K. will not be involved in the show in any form, FX has confirmed. He was an executive producer and writer on the shows first two seasons; in the forthcoming batch, C.K. will receive no executive producer credit, and his title card has been stripped.
FX announced that it was severing its association with Louis C.K. back in November 2017, after the comedian admitted to exposing himself and masturbating in front of women without their consent. FX Productions canceled its overall deal with his production company, Pig Newton, which produced multiple shows with the studio, including Better Things, Baskets, and Tig Notaros personal tour de force, One Mississippi (which aired on Amazon).
One of the most unfortunate effects of the C.K. situation—and there have been several—was the shadow it cast over Better Things and One Mississippi, two deeply idiosyncratic series crafted by older female auteurs. One of them tackled misconduct directly: One Mississippis second season, which aired before C.K.s confession, included a story line in which a boss covertly masturbates in front of a female character while pitching him a radio show, a possible reference to C.K. When the accusations against C.K. were made public in 2017 (but, again, before C.K. admitted they were true), Notaro distanced herself from C.K., suggesting he did not actually contribute to the show: “He wasnt involved, but his name was on it,” she told The New York Times. “That brought a lot of power, even if he wasnt working on it day to day. His people were involved day to day. I do want to give credit to Amazon. Amazon let us make exactly the show we wanted to make.”
Since the scandal broke, FX has taken pains to point out that Better Things is Adlons show from top to bottom—something that should be obvious to anyone who has watched this series about the complicated pleasures, anxieties, and negotiations in one womans life. FX president John Landgraf gave Adlon props at last years Television Critics Association press tour, noting that she is “the creative engine of that show” and “a major filmmaker and producer in her own right.”
At Glamours 2018 Women of the Year summit, Adlon also talked about the shows personal nature, “Feeling like nobody is going to care about your story—that held me back for a while. And then I finally started to write it all down. And all of the things that plagued me my whole life got woven into my show.”
Adlon spent years collaborating with C.K.: before Better Things, she played a recurring love interest on his FX series Louie, and before that, she co-starred in his HBO series Lucky Louie. In November 2017, after C.K. admitted to misconduct, Adlon released a statement that said, in part, “My family and I are devastated and in shock after the admission of abhorrent behavior by my friend and partner, Louis C.K. I feel deep sorrow and empathy for the women who have come forward. I am asking for privacy at this time for myself and my family. I am processing and grieving and hope to say more as soon as I am able.”
Season 3 of Better Things offers Adlon a fresh start without C.K.s involvement—though it will feature guest stars like Sharon Stone, Matthew Broderick, Cree Summer, and Doug Jones, in addition to returning cast members Mikey Madison, Hannah Alligood, Olivia Edward, Celia Imrie, Kevin Pollak, and Alysia Reiner.
Adlon had to create a new writers room for this season, since Season 2 was co-written with C.K. “I have a wonderful group of writers that Im working with this season: Sarah Gubbins, Joe Hortua, Robin Ruzan, and Ira Parker,” she said at an event last spring. In terms of her direction for the new season, she said at that time, “I just want to keep it moving in the direction that life goes, just the way all of us go.” She acknowledged that those working on the show had experienced “massive changes” recently and wanted to weave those ebbs and flows of life into the show.
“I just wanted to keep reflecting that,” Adlon said. “I want people to have the response to it that they have.”
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Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Joy PressJoy Press is a T.V. Correspondent for Vanity Fair. Her book, Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television, was released in February.