Having overcome the seemingly impossible task of alchemizing the Coen brothers’ 1996 masterpiece Fargo into two seasons of Emmy-winning, critically beloved TV gold, showrunner Noah Hawley is now pushing himself to complete even more feats of entertainment industry wizardry. As per a press release put out today by FX, Hawley has signed on as a producer for two more projects for the network in addition to his ongoing work on Fargo and his upcoming duties as a writer and producer on the network’s Kurt Vonnegut adaptation Cat’s Cradle and X-Men spinoff, Legion.
First up on Hawley’s increasingly packed plate: Hellhound On His Trail, about the 65-day manhunt for James Earl Ray, the man who shot Martin Luther King, Jr. Based on a book by Hampton Sides, the series will follow a team of investigators on their continent-spanning quest to find the man who shot the civil rights leader outside a motel in Memphis, Tennessee in April of 1968. The series is being written by True Blood’s Alex Woo, who will hopefully be able to resist the urge to slip some werepanthers into the story of the hunt for the convicted assassin.
On a less serious note, Hawley will also be producing The Hot Rock, an adaptation of Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder novels, whose bumbling, crime-prone protagonists wouldn’t be out of place hanging out in Minnesota with D-grade criminals like Fargo’s Lester Nygaard or Ed Blumquist. First adapted for the screen by Robert Redford back in 1972, the TV adaptation is being written by Entourage writing team Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, who’ve also both penned episodes of Fargo (which will hopefully alleviate fears that any of Westlake’s classic characters will now find themselves describing non-currency entities as “money,” or associate themselves with anyone called Turtle).
All told, this is pretty ambitious slate of shows, so it’ll be interesting to see how Hawley—whose pre-Fargo production experience is mostly limited to a stint on Bones and work at the helm of short-lived stuff like ABC’s My Generation—will handle the additional pressures. FX president John Landgraf seems confident, in any case, reaffirming the network’s commitment to working with Hawley, as he apparently works to single-handedly push FX to the brink of Landgraf’s famous concept of “peak TV”.