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Louis CK explains Horace and Pete's surprise release and its price

"I'm making this show as you're watching it."

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Louis CK released his new television series, Horace and Pete, with no fanfare because he wanted viewers to experience it without knowing anything about it beforehand, he said on his website today.

The comedian pulled a Beyoncé last Saturday, springing Horace and Pete on the world out of nowhere while his FX series, Louie, is on an extended hiatus. CK is selling episodes of the series exclusively through his website, and released the 67-minute pilot episode Jan. 30.

"As a writer, there's always a weird [feeling] that as you unfold the story and reveal the characters and the tone, you always know that the audience will never get the benefit of seeing it the way you wrote it because they always know so much before they watch it," CK said today. "And as a TV watcher I'm always delighted when I can see a thing without knowing anything about it because of the promotion. So making this show and just posting it out of the blue gave me the rare opportunity to give you that experience of discovery."

The way CK is making Horace and Pete also plays into his release plan. The series is filmed as a multi-camera sitcom, and CK said it's intended to have a "live feeling."

"So I'm making this show as you're watching it," he said.

Horace and Pete pilot screencap 1920

CK also touched on the pricing of Horace and Pete, which, at $5 for the pilot, is higher than the standard $3-per-episode pricing for most TV shows. He said today that he is "producing, directing, writing, distributing and financing" Horace and Pete by himself, and noted that the show is "fucking expensive" to make. Its cast includes well-known actors such as Alan Alda, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco and Jessica Lange.

"Horace and Pete is a full on TV production with four broadcast cameras, two beautiful sets and a state of the art control room and a very talented and skilled crew and a hall-of-fame cast," CK explained. "Basically this is a hand-made, one guy paid for it version of a thing that is usually made by a giant corporation."

The pilot of Horace and Pete will remain at $5, while the second episode — which is being made right now and will be released the morning of Saturday, Feb. 6 — will cost $2. The rest of the episodes will go for $3 each. In keeping with the bootstrap feel of the show, CK did not provide a release schedule or details on how many episodes he plans to produce.

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