HBO Exec Apologizes for Saying Network Was ‘Raped’ by ‘Big Little Lies’ Cast Negotiations

“Obviously, I am embarrassed by my poor choice of words,” senior vice president of drama Francesca Orsi says in a statement

An HBO executive has apologized for saying the network was “raped” by the contract renegotiations for the cast of “Big Little Lies” heading into Season 2.

Speaking at the INTV conference in Israel on Tuesday, Francesca Orsi, HBO’s senior vice president of drama, said renegotiating the contracts for the A-list “Big Little Lies” cast — none of whom had options in place to return to the planned one-off series before it became an award-winning hit — resulted in the network being “sort of raped” financially.

“Obviously, I am embarrassed by my poor choice of words,” Orsi said in a follow-up statement to her original comments. “We are extremely proud of ‘Big Little Lies’ and excited for the second season.”

Based on the best-selling novel by Liane Moriarty, “Big Little Lies” was initially conceived as a limited series, boasting an all-star cast lead by Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. But once the first season proved to be a smash, including eight wins at the Emmys last fall, speculation about another season ran rampant.

HBO ultimately announced in December that the show had been picked up for a second season.

However, The Hollywood Reporter first reported in January that landing deals for the cast to return came at a steep price for the network. Witherspoon alone, whose producing slate has exploded in recent months with high-profile projects at Apple and now Hulu, is earning “in the $1 million-an-episode ballpark” for the second season, along with fees for serving as an executive producer and points off the backend. Kidman, also an executive producer, is said to have a similar deal.