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‘The Strain’ EP Carlton Cuse Praises His Show’s Controversial, Icky Billboard: ‘Perfect Marketing’

TCA 2016: Showrunner calls FX marketing department “the best in the business”

Nobody has forgotten the Season 1 billboards advertising “The Strain” that were so gross FX had them removed — and Carlton Cuse thinks that’s a good thing.

“I think the perfect marketing campaign is one that is controversial enough that you remember it, among the 400 scripted shows,” the showrunner said during the series’ panel at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour on Tuesday. “You remember the worm going into the eye. Obviously some people thought it was too far, but other people thought it was cool.”

Cuse also discussed the merits of getting to decide when a show should end, something that he and Damon Lindelof got to do on “Lost” and he will do again on A&E’s “Psycho” prequel series “Bates Motel.”

“It’s the best thing ever for a showrunner to get to end your own show,” he said. “The end of a narrative is so compelling, look at what happened with ‘Breaking Bad,’ how amazing it was to get to watch the end of that show. As television evolves, we will see more and more of this. As a storyteller, most good stories have a beginning, middle and end, and you want to tell that story while the audience is still engaged in that story.”

Cuse also revealed that while its makers originally conceived “The Strain” as three-season show, they realized that there was more story to tell and have begun discussing Season 4 and how many more episodes the show will need to wrap up.

“The Strain” Season 3 premieres Sunday, Aug. 28, at 10 p.m. ET on FX.