“The Divide” started out as a pilot for AMC. It didn’t end up there, though, and the people behind it say it might be better for it.
The show, a drama about the fallout from a racially charged murder case in Philadelphia, premieres on WE Wednesday (July 16). Both writer Richard LaGravenese (“Behind the Candelabra”) and director Tony Goldwyn (“Scandal”) say the move to a different channel has benefited the show.
“[AMC] initially told us they loved it but weren’t sure where they wanted to slot it,” Goldwyn said Friday at the TV critics’ summer press tour. “We got a call a couple months later from the heads of the network saying we have an idea. We have a sister network that we own called the WE network, and we want to do with ‘The Divide’ what we did with ‘Mad Men’ on AMC. We want it to be the first scripted show on WE. Richie and I were really excited about it.”
The move also gave LaGravenese time to tweak a pilot that he describes as not “baked fully” on the first pass.
“It was creatively a great opportunity I’ve had to learn from our first one and go, OK, now I know what we need to do,” LaGravenese says. “… We added characters, we cut out stuff. We took the pilot and filleted it in two and then we filled it with all this other stuff. I’m still learning, coming from film, that TV is about breath, which is such a luxury as a writer that I don’t usually get.”
“The Divide,” which stars Marin Ireland, Damon Gupton, Nia Long, Joe Anderson and Clarke Peters, premieres at 9 p.m. ET/PT Wednesday on WE.