The ‘American Horror Story’ creator plans to continue to champion women, minorities, and LGBTQ in new streaming series.
Chances are you’re familiar with at least one thing Ryan Murphy has produced. He isn’t just some regular creator; most of his stuff can be considered cultural touchstones in one way or another, whether you like them or not. Glee brought musicals to the small screen in a big way. The pioneering anthology series American Horror Story has been on air for seven seasons and counting. American Crime Story breathed new life into the salacious crime drama with The People v. O.J. Simpson.
Every time something at Fox gets made for television, there’s a good chance it was created by Murphy. Now, his reach is broadening after committing to a partnership with Netflix. Deadline reports that Murphy, having also been courted by other corporate juggernauts like Disney, inked a five-year deal with the streaming giant, which is notable as it happens to be the biggest TV pact ever. Reaching as high as $300 million, the deal will take effect on July 1st, as Murphy’s obligations with 20th Century Fox is set to expire this year.
Murphy says of the Netflix parthership:
“The history of this moment is not lost on me. I am a gay kid from Indiana who moved to Hollywood in 1989 with $55 in savings in my pocket, so the fact that my dreams have crystallized and come true in such a major way is emotional and overwhelming to me. I am awash in genuine appreciation for Ted Sarandos, Reed Hastings, and Cindy Holland at Netflix for believing in me and the future of my company which will continue to champion women, minorities, and LGBTQ heroes and heroines, and I am honored and grateful to continue my partnership with my friends and peers at Fox on our existing shows.”
The numbers and awards don’t lie, and the huge line-up of Murphy-produced shows continues to receive good ratings and win big awards. I often complain that American Horror Story isn’t really a horror show because it’s not actually scary, but it keeps getting renewed to mostly positive reviews and remains relatively popular, so what do I know, really? American Crime Story has been much better received; its latest season, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, is definitely considered a worthy follow-up to The People v. O.J. Simpson.
Not everything Murphy has done was an all-out hit, however; Scream Queens was canceled after one season, and Glee took a nosedive quality-wise as the show went on. But his latest creation, 9-1-1, is currently going strong, and his next series, the ’80s-set high society musical drama Pose, is set to premiere sometime in 2018.
Of course, part of Murphy’s successes and prevalence on the small screen is attributed to Fox and the creative partnerships he has had with executives like Dana Walden. The fact that he was courted by Disney signals that the House of Mouse was probably trying to keep one of Fox’s biggest talents in-house, but ultimately Murphy went with a less restrictive option. He said at this year’s TCA event last month, “The stuff that I do isn’t specifically Disney. I was concerned: Do I have to start putting Mickey Mouse in American Horror Story?”
A Netflix/Murphy partnership actually makes sense given how ostentatious both entities are. Netflix has so far been fantastically innovative with their marketing campaigns, constantly pushing the envelope of consumer culture and making it difficult but exciting to predict what comes next for them. That plus the expected campiness of Murphy’s projects would easily take the world by storm.
Having Murphy on board is pretty much a win for Netflix, whether we like it or not. His shows consistently manage to create strong fanbases, he has the goodwill of so many phenomenal fellow creatives such as actors, and he actually walks the talk of championing diversity and inclusion in his work. According to Deadline, Murphy will still remain focused on his existing Fox projects. But as we speak, there are two Murphy shows — Ratched and The Politician — already in development at the streaming service, so he’s certainly not wasting any time moving into his new home.