At the virtual Television Critics Association FX fall press day today, John Landgraf, Chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions, told reporters that the network is slowly ramping up production for their original programming in the ongoing COVID-19 environment. He revealed that pickups were completed for their upcoming limited series, A Teacher, in August and Fargo Season 4 wrapped production yesterday in Chicago.
Landgraf explained about the cast and crews: “We maintained as much isolation as possible. And we’re still learning. We’re committed to getting better each day and each week.”
With these early successes, Landgraf announced that they’ve shifted focus to attempt full seasonal production in first quarter 2021. That means the third season of the vampire comedy hit, What We Do in the Shadows, is eyeing a slightly later than normal production start date. It typically shoots late fall in Toronto, Canada, so this adjustment is a slight push from their norm.
The long-in-development series adaptation of Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra’s hit comic book series, Y: The Last Man (shortened to Y for FX) was also confirmed as having an intended start of production later in 2021 under the guidance of showrunner Eliza Clark (Rubicon).
And the next season of American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy's long-running horror anthology, is also confirmed in pre-production mode with the intention of shooting in 2021.
Other topics of note during the presentation was the major success of the FX on Hulu intiative that started in spring of 2020. For the first time, FX Originals such as What We Do in the Shadows and the Alex Garland limited series, Devs, exclusively premiered on Hulu to its robust 35 million subscribers. Landgraf called the expanded number of eyes on their programming as “transformative” and cited as an example that Shadows viewership for Season 2 increased 54 percent with the new strategy.
And with the backdrop of so much social upheavel in 2020, Landgraf said their ongoing initiatives to increase the mix of gender and racial parity throughout all of their programming will continue to grow in 2021. He cited that in 2020, 16 percent of their series directors were persons of color, and that would rise to 46 percent in 2021, pending any scheduling or production changes. And their numbers for women and POC writers are also increasing going into 2021. FX also announced they started work on Reservation Dogs from Seminole Nation creator Sterlin Hajo and executive producer/writer/director, Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows).
Landgraf was also hopeful about the future of serialized storytelling as he said that the cultural changes demanded in this summer’s protests are going to be reflected in future series. “I’m the oldest person in the development group now so I rely on the younger generation who have strong and clear opinions,” he shared. “That clearly will change all programming. And my love of the art of narrative storytelling has always been its ability to see stories through different eyes and be in others shoes. Yet the very thing designed to expand our field of vision has been so narrow. When we throw that off and open up to the whole planet and any human experience is now available to access. The platinum age of TV goes on and on and continues with new points of view. FX always on the vanguard and is always looking for something that hasn’t been on TV before.”