Is Steven Spielberg Returning to His Television Roots?

Steven Spielberg could return to directing television
Steven Spielberg on set of 'Lincoln' Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The filmmaker started in TV, so would he go back? 

Steven Spielberg began his career working in TV, directing an awesome episode of Columbo, and spent his early 20s directing episodes of The Night Gallery and Marcus Welby, M.D as well. But since then, he's become one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. To me, he is the greatest filmmaker of all time, but that is a debate for later.

But on the recent episode of the SmartLess podcast with Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes, Spielberg joined them to discuss filmmaking, his career, and whether or not he would go back to television someday. 

When confronted with the question, Spielberg said, “I do have an appetite for long-form, and, someday, I will direct a long-form series,” Spielberg said. “I mean, if someone would have brought me Mare of Easttown, I would have done that. That was a beautifully directed story.” 

That's such an interesting show because I think it has a lot more to do with Spielberg than it seems on the top. We know he loves an emotional journey and twists and turns. It would be interesting to see him tackle long-form storytelling again, especially if he is directing every episode, not just a one-off.

Of course, Spielberg almost did this before, with Lincoln.

He elaborated, “I was willing to do Lincoln as a six-hour [show] because I couldn’t raise all the financing for it."

“No one believed in it…I went around town and everyone turned me down," Spielberg said. "I was ready to make a deal with HBO to do it and expand it to six hours. Tony Kushner’s first draft was 550 pages, so I had the goods! I had the material. I don’t know if I could have talked Daniel Day-Lewis into doing six hours, but I was on the brink of that.”

I think a historical drama like Lincoln would have made an interesting mini-series, but a bigger part of me would love to see him make a contemporary crime thriller like Mare, where he can use that Spielbergian touch to deliver memorable characters and build a massive world.

What do you think of Spielberg contemplating long-form TV? 

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