Edinburgh International TV Festival: Kevin Spacey renews attack on broadcast execs who hamper freedom of creatives

Kevin Spacey used this morning's post-MacTaggart Q&A session to renew his attack on broadcast executives who fail to give the creative community the freedom they need to produce great television.

In a lively hour, Spacey urged executives to be "as brave as those at Netflix and HBO" who are responsible for backing the programming that has taken television "into a new golden era".

He spoke of the common experience among fellow actors of agreeing to participate in a project because of an "incredible script" only to discover that it has been mauled by interfering executives making changes "at every level" before filming begins.

Reflecting on his own film-making experiences, he revealed that the "thousand different choices" available to a director when filming is completed can lead to unexpected outcomes. Sometimes it's "exactly what you thought it would be but sometimes you're thinking: 'what the fuck did they do with it?'".

He also accused executives of being lazy when it comes to seeking new talent: "There might be an incredible show being put on in some basement theatre and they can't get anyone to see it."

Spacey had blunt advice for executives seeking talent: "Get off your arses and go and find it," adding that the preponderance of emerging talent was one of the reasons he so admires the Edinburgh Festival: "The networks are going to miss out...[the talent] is out there."

Asked about the future of television, he said that it doesn't matter what size screen people use to watch programming and even if we're eventually conjuring content via implants in our heads "two things will never change - people will want to tell stories and people will want to watch them."

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