BY CYNTHIA LITTLETON
The kudos recognition for “Mr. Robot” is flowing in just as creator and showrunner Sam Esmail and his team are getting down to work on season two of the moody USA Network drama.
The “Mr. Robot” writers room is up and running in Los Angeles although the show will again be shot in New York. In a shift from season one, Esmail is expected to direct all 10 episodes of the sophomore season — a reflection of his auteur approach that made the show distinctive.
“We are really happy that people are seeing the same things that we see in a show that we love so much,” USA Network president Chris McCumber told Variety. “The competition is so intense — there’s so many great shows deserving of recognition and of people’s time. It’s very hard to break through.”
“Mr. Robot” was among the Globes’ most nominated TV series with three bids, for drama series and for stars Rami Malek and Christian Slater. On Wednesday it grabbed a SAG Awards nom for Malek. Last week, the show earned Writers Guild Award noms for new series and a spot in the tougher drama series heat.
“Mr. Robot” stars Malek as an emotionally crippled IT wiz who becomes involved in a subversive social movement that takes aim at multinational corporate evil-doers. McCumber credited Esmail’s vision for allowing “Mr. Robot” to stand out in a sea of strong competition. “You have to find voices that are relevant and great storytellers and have such a specific vision,” McCumber said. “In Sam we have found that.”
The awards traction will help drive USA’s broader effort to bring more viewers “Mr. Robot” during its off season period through copious digital and social media activity. USA is also running a season one marathon at the end of this month. And it is preparing a home video release of season one that will have some TV-MA-rated extras not seen in the USA cuts of the episodes, McCumber said.
“Our philosophy is now that you have to have an ‘always-on’ strategy from the moment the season ends,” McCumber said
USA has yet to set the season two premiere date. It’s likely to return in the summer but it may start a little later than season one. The show bowed June 24 on USA’s linear channel although the pilot was made available for free streaming a month before on a range of platforms.