In one of the richest deals in Hollywood history, prolific producer Ryan Murphy has inked a multi-year deal with Netflix that bolsters the future of the streaming service. The deal, rumored to be worth $300 million for five years, goes into effects on July 1.
Murphy is the creator or co-creator of such influential TV series as Glee, Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story and American Crime Story, as well as Popular, Scream Queens, The New Normal, Feud, 9-1-1 and the upcoming series Pose, which features the most transgender cast ever assembled for a scripted series. On the feature side, he has directed adaptations of the bestselling books Eat Pray Love and Running With Scissors, as well as HBO’s excellent TV movie The Normal Heart.
Murphy is considered one of the best and brightest producers in all of Hollywood, and he generally has his finger on the pulse, so this exclusive deal makes all kinds of sense for Netflix, where Murphy had already been developing The Politician starring Ben Platt and Ratched starring Sarah Paulson. He has spent the majority of his career working with 20th Century Fox TV, which had hoped to continue its relationship with Murphy, but the producer was ready for a new challenge.
“Ryan Murphy’s series have influenced the global cultural zeitgeist, reinvented genres and changed the course of television history. His unfaltering dedication to excellence and to give voice to the underrepresented, to showcase a unique perspective or just to shock the hell out of us, permeates his genre-shattering work,” said Netflix chief Ted Sarandos. “From Nip/Tuck — our first licensed series – to American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson and American Horror Story, we’ve seen how his brand of storytelling captivates consumers and critics across the globe. His celebrated body of work and his contributions to our industry speak for themselves, and we look forward to supporting Ryan in bringing his broad and diverse stories to the world.”
“The history of this moment is not lost on me,” said Murphy. “I am a gay kid from Indiana who moved to Hollywood in 1989 with $55 dollars 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.”
Not only is Murphy one of the hardest-working men in showbiz, but he also cares about diversity and inclusivity. He recently launched Half with the goal of making Hollywood more inclusive by creating equal opportunities for women and minorities behind the camera. Less than one year after launching Half, Ryan Murphy Television’s director slate hired 60 percent female directors, and 90 percent met its women and minority requirement. Concurrent with the hiring goals, the initiative launched the Half-Directors Mentorship Program, in which every director on every Ryan Murphy Television production mentors emerging women and minority directors through pre-production and post-production along with offering a significant stipend for their commitment. These funds provided critical stipends for travel, lodging, and daycare for working mothers, allowing them to meet personal financial obligations while gaining unprecedented access to further education and career growth. In 2017, Ryan Murphy introduced Half – Internships in conjunction with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Creative Pathways for Underrepresented Youth program through Hire LA Youth.
I won’t sit here and call myself some Ryan Murphy mega-fan, since I don’t watch most of the shows he produces. We have fairly different sensibilities, for the most part. But what I will say is that between The People v O.J. Simpson and The Assassination of Gianni Versace, it’s clear that American Crime Story is one of the best franchises on television, and I can’t wait to see what Murphy does with the third season, whether that concerns Monica Lewinski or the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. If you aren’t watching Versace right now, you are missing out. Read my review here, and my interview with star Cody Fern right here.
In closing, it seems that Netflix has gone and done it again. This is a win-win, and congrats to 20th Century Fox TV on a hell of a run with Murphy.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief