The genre-hopping TV juggernaut Ryan Murphy is leaving Fox for Netflix after complaining that he felt discomfort in the wake of the Walt Disney Company’s planned acquisition of 21st Century Fox.
At this year’s TCA, he was “weighing whether he would stick around” the company after his contract let out. Now, in what is reported to be as much as a $300 million exclusive five-year deal, the American Horror Story producer will move to the streaming giant in July after his Fox contract expires this summer.
That’s a massive deal, paved by fellow powerhouse TV producer Shonda Rhimes (who last year garnered $100 million for her own poaching), and one that will allow Murphy—who has about a dozen or so new shows either created, written, or produced over the last five years—perhaps even more creative freedom than he displayed with his FX programming.
In a statement Murphy said, "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 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."
His love of transforming camp into something greater, whether that camp is couched in horror, drama, or crime, is an auteurial spin that the streaming giant needs far more of.
Murphy’s already signed up to make two seasons of a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest spin-off series focused on Nurse Ratched (called Ratched), and now he’s got another in the works, The Politician, potentially starring Barbra Streisand and Gwyneth Paltrow.
But, in addition to the freedom it provides, the budgets that Netflix can give any creative are far outside of traditional TV. Look at the money the company is pouring into original content like Bright or the plethora of new TV shows that fly under your radar every week.
With a big-name creator like Murphy, Netflix is hoping that won’t be the case. Murphy’s existing Fox and FX shows will continue out their current runs, but the future of Murphy’s prolific creations is the future of television: streaming.