Donald Glover has been doing so much lately that FX has announced that the upcoming third season of Atlanta has been delayed and may not arrive until sometime in 2020.
John Landgraf, the network’s CEO, revealed at the Television Critics Association winter press tour Monday morning that Glover’s popular series is behind schedule.
When Atlanta was renewed it for a third season last June, it was expected to return in 2019, but it has recently become clear that that’s no longer a possibility.
“I don’t know whether we’ll have Atlanta or not. The writers are back working right now, thank God,” said Landgraf, before PR boss John Solberg confirmed that “it won’t be for this Emmy cycle.” Joked Landgraf to the reporters in the Langham Hotel ballroom: “If you wanna see me cry, you can just come backstage.”
With Atlanta out of Emmy contention this year, it clears a path for other strong contenders including Barry, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and the final season of Veep. The Georgia-based series, which Glover has described as a passion project of his, has previously won FX two Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Peabody Award, on top of being a steady performer for the network.
“As you might imagine, Donald Glover is sort of the king of all media, and he just has had an incredibly complicated life. He’s had personal things he’s had to deal with, from injuries to other things I’d rather not say publicly that just have to do not with his personal life but his extended family,” Landgraf further explained of the delay.
“So I think one of the things that is just a reality of television today is you have to wait. We have so many things now that don’t cycle back on a regular basis. … From my standpoint, I wish for the fans as well as for us that we could get everything back on an annual basis but, again, you just have to make a decision about quantity over quality at a certain point — and we’re just erring on the side of quality.”
Atlanta castmember Zazie Beetz had hinted at the delay while promoting her new movie Wounds at Sundance last week. “Ideally we would be shooting now; that’s not happening,” she told IndieWire with a laugh. “Everybody’s schedules are sort of all over the place — they’re hoping for spring sometime, but no dates.” She added: “Everybody’s busy, and Donald [Glover] had his tour in the fall, and that doesn’t lend itself to time for scriptwriting. I know that they have a couple of episodes together, but I don’t have any real information.”
Atlanta’s production delays aren’t new territory for those of us who have been following the show over the years.
Despite its critical acclaim, following its season premiere in 2016, the show’s second season didn’t debut until 2018 due to showrunner Donald Glover’s busy schedule (which, at the time, included his rap career and his role in “Solo: A Star Wars Story”).