'American Crime Story: Katrina' Isn't Happening, But The FX Franchise Still Has Plenty Of Stories To Tell
It's been three years since Ryan Murphy announced American Crime Story: Katrina, his concept for the next American Crime Story chapter focusing on 2005's Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. However, after being delayed, and ultimately leading to the ACS installment The Assassination of Gianni Versace, it seems American Crime Story: Katrina isn't happening, as reported by TV Guide. While behind-the-scenes events may have prevented Katrina from being made, luckily, there are more stories to be told in the ACS universe.
On Monday, Feb. 4, FX President John Landgraf explained a little bit about the status of the ACS franchise at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. "Katrina is not still in the mix," Landgraf told reporters, per TV Guide. The potential season was first revealed in The Hollywood Reporter's January 2016 cover story with Murphy. The media mogul explained his interest in focusing on Hurricane Katrina for the successful series, saying, "I want this show to be a socially conscious, socially aware examination of different types of crime around the world." Murphy continued, "In my opinion, Katrina was a f*cking crime — a crime against a lot of people who didn't have a strong voice, and we're going to treat it as a crime. That's what this show is all about."
However, the plans for Katrina started going awry when the series was undergoing creative changes in 2017.
In August 2017, Landgraf revealed there was "a big creative pivot that [was] made," explaining Katrina's delay, according to TV Guide. "It was a difficult decision because we were far along in one creative direction and then just Ryan [Murphy] decided, and we supported Ryan, that the bar is really high for this franchise and we just weren't confident that we were going to get over it," Landgraf said. At the time, the FX President also hinted, "There was an idea for a creative pivot that I'm going to let Ryan announce to you when he's ready to do so."
At that point, there were already actors tied to a handful of roles for the season, as reported by TV Guide. Matthew Broderick would star as former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown, Annette Bening would play Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, and Dennis Quaid had the role of President George W. Bush.
But in July 2017, the season was already being "stalled," as reported by THR. In an interview with director Anthony Hemingway (who directed several episodes of Season 1, The People v. O.J. Simpson), it was revealed that the team was "all standing by waiting to find out what's happening." Hemingway also said, "Nothing has really been done. We haven't started prep on it at all. Who knows? It's all up to Ryan Murphy."
Another contributing factor to could be Murphy's major deal with Netflix, deemed "the biggest TV pact ever" by Deadline. Last February, Murphy signed a deal (reportedly up to $300 million) with the streaming service to produce new series and films exclusively at Netflix. Still, his staple FX productions like American Crime Story and American Horror Story will continue on.
On Monday, Landgraf reportedly seemed optimistic about future ACS installments, despite Katrina being pulled from the mix. "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," he told reporters at the TCA tour. "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. I think there are many more cycles of American Crime Story to come and more cycles of American Horror Story too."
One series that is on permanent hiatus, according to Landgraf, is Feud. This news comes after he confirmed last August that a season focusing on Prince Charles and Princess Diana was cancelled, according to THR. Although it was rumored that FX had already cast Matthew Goode and Rosamund Pike for the respective roles, the scripts reportedly didn't stick. "We did [have it cast] but we decided we didn't feel we had the material right and decided not to move forward with it," Landgraf told THR.
While some fans may be disappointed that the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina won't come to the small screen in ACS after all, at least they have other installments of the popular franchise to look forward to.