They have dealt with, arguably, the best known murder case in recent US history and explored the tragic effects of homophobia, a desire for fame and a sense of entitlement in the first two seasons of American Crime Story, but what does Ryan Murphy have in store for us next? Although he was tightlipped, it does appear that there are still a number of stories to tell for Murphy’s latest anthology series according to FX Networks Chairman.
Given the enormous critical and fan appeal that 2016’s The People v. O.J. Simpson and 2018’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace garnered, there will be immense interest in whatever story comes next, but just what this story will be is anyone’s guess. Speaking to reporters in New York on Tuesday (May 14), the FX Networks Chairman John Landgraf confirmed that there are at least four projects in the works for the franchise. However, the success of the earlier seasons can be the series’ own worst enemy.
“It’s really challenging,” remarked Landgraf on finding the next story. “There is plenty of true crime storytelling in the market right now. It’s a ubiquitous form. We want to elevate our ambition and [figure out] how to bring the brightest stories to market. That starts with writing and nuance and how the meaning of the crime story fits in the larger context.”
A few potential storylines have been thrown up in the media in recent years. Originally the second season was meant to focus on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A cast had already been partially assembled including Matthew Broderick as former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown, Annette Bening would play Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, and Dennis Quaid was set to take on the role of President George W. Bush. However, this was pushed back to the third seasons and Versace was made. Now it looks like Katrina will never see the light of day, with Landgraf confirming in February that “Katrina is not still in the mix”. Similarly the rumoured Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky season was scrapped last year.
It appears that not much has progressed since Landgraf’s appearance at the Television Critics Association winter press tour where he told reporters,
“We have three or four ideas in active development, where we’ve sort of acquired rights, we’ve done a fair amount of research, we’ve got writers working on them. And I couldn’t tell you which one of them is likely to be ready first, but my sense is the likelihood is they’ll all be produced over time. So I think there are many more cycles of ACS to come and more cycles of American Horror Story, too.”
So with at four storylines in the works, was there any hint at all at what these could possibly be this time round?
Surprising really no one, Landgraf said, “We’re just waiting for Ryan to see what he wants to do next.”
Landgraf and everyone else really. So once again, it’s watch this space.