How FX Juggles Scheduling All 3 of Ryan Murphy’s Hit Anthology Series

2018 should see 4 cycles of American Crime Story, American Horror Story and Feud

FX already has six more cycles on tap of Ryan Murphy's anthology series.
Source: Getty Images

As Ryan Murphy’s latest anthology series for FX, Feud: Bette and Joan, hits the halfway mark on Sunday, the network is determining its future scheduling plans for all of its anthology series from the prolific producer.

The network is now airing three separate anthology series—which each focus on a new subject each season—from Murphy: American Horror Story (which started it all and has been going strong for six seasons), American Crime Story (whose first installment The People v. O.J. Simpson, aired a year ago) and Feud (its newest entry).

FX has already ordered six additional cycles across those three shows, with even more in discussions, which will require some juggling to fit them all into its schedule.

Currently, the network plans to run only one more installment of a Murphy show this year, Season 7 of American Horror Story, with as many as four cycles on tap for 2018. While broadcast networks operate on a strict programming schedule each year, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said he’ll wait for whenever the best version of Murphy’s shows will be ready to air.

“There’s what I would like or what I hope, which must give ways to the needs of the talent and the creative,” said Landgraf, who in January announced that the next seasons of American Crime Story and Donald Glover’s breakout freshman comedy, Atlanta, would be delayed until 2018. At the time, he noted, “Do you want it now, or do you want it good? … We’ll take it later, and we’ll take it good.”

Landgraf has picked up two more seasons of American Crime Story. The second season, Katrina: American Crime Story, will focus on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and star Annette Bening as then-Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Matthew Broderick as FEMA Director Michael D. Brown (“Heckuva job, Brownie!”). And Season 3, Versace: American Crime Story, will center on the 1997 murder of Gianni Versace and star Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace, Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace and Darren Criss as Versace’s killer, Andrew Cunanan.

While Versace will go into production next month, the plan is for Katrina to air first, followed “six to seven months” months later by Versace, said Landgraf. Murphy is also developing a fourth season of American Crime Story that will be based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book about the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President, but that hasn’t officially been ordered yet.

"I’m not going to put out a substandard version of Feud, and try to force Ryan to put Feud on at that time if it's not ready."
-John Landgraf, FX Networks CEO

Last month, FX also picked up a second season of Feud, which will focus on Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s unhappy marriage. Titled Feud: Charles and Diana, the 10-episode season is scheduled to debut in 2018, but the exact time frame will again be up to Murphy.

While Landgraf would like to have Feud’s next cycle ready to go next March, “I’m not going to put out a substandard version of Feud, and try to force Ryan to put Feud on at that time if it’s not ready and it’s not what Ryan wants to do.”

The exact returns of American Crime Story and Feud are still not finalized, but Landgraf and Murphy have agreed on a new, standard annual schedule for American Horror Story, which the network has picked up for three more seasons. At one point, they had discussed the possibility of airing two seasons each year, but have now determined that each season will premiere in September and wrap in November.

For most of its run, each American Horror Story season would debut in October and stretch into January, after a holiday break. “One of the things that Ryan felt, and I agreed with him, is that this has become a fall ritual that people really look forward to and that fits the mood of darker days, rain, [colder] weather and Halloween,” said Landgraf. “But that once you get past Thanksgiving, which in America is the official commencement of Christmas season, ultimately there’s a dissonance between American Horror Story and Christmas. We premiered it earlier last year and we ended at Thanksgiving, and that’s what we intend to do.”