It's the worst part of a season finale: not the frustrating cliffhangers that don't so much promise what comes next as they give the writers time to figure out what comes next, but the not knowing when your favorite show might return. When does American Crime Story Season 3 premiere? That's a question fans may be asking themselves as The Assassination Of Gianni Versace meets its explosive end on March 21. The season has already tracked the life of serial killer Andrew Cunanan backwards in time all the way to his traumatic childhood, and now it must tie things off with the circumstances of his death.
But with this chapter of Ryan Murphy's anthology series done, when will he return to give viewers another story of crime in America? Vanity Fair reported last year that Season 3 of ACS will tackle the deadly events of Hurricane Katrina as recounted in the 2013 non-fiction book Five Days At Memorial: Life And Death In A Storm-Ravaged Hospital, starring Sarah Paulson as a doctor forced to make impossible decisions to care for thousands of critically ill patients stranded by the natural disaster. But how soon can fans expect that gripping story to hit the airwaves? Unfortunately, if the hiatus between Seasons 1 and 2 are any indication, they could be waiting quite a while.
That's because, while The People V. O.J. Simpson premiered way back in February 2016, The Assassination Of Gianni Versace didn't make its debut until January 2018. That's almost two full years between seasons. Will viewers be forced to wait that long again for more ACS? Are fans looking at a 2020 premiere for Season 3?
It wasn't until Murphy decided to creatively revamp his idea for the Katrina season that Versace was bumped up to become the anthology's second installment, per Variety. All those behind-the-scenes switcheroos explain the long wait between seasons.
That being said, don't expect Season 3 to arrive on your TV screen anytime soon. Production for Versace began in May 2017, which means it took about eight months from the start-date for the finished product to premiere. At a Television Critics Association panel in January, Ryan Murphy shared that production for Season 3 was slated to begin in the fall, per Vanity Fair — which, going off a September start-date, means viewers could potentially expect a May 2019 premiere, assuming that production for Season 3 takes roughly the same amount of time as Season 2. However, FX CEO John Landgraf said at the same event that he wasn't even sure if Katrina would be the next season or not, according to TV Guide. So it seems possible, at least, that another change in plans may occur before production starts. Perhaps Katrina will be pushed back again.
Despite its flashy and much-publicized House of Versace trappings, much of Season 2 turned out to be a relatively small chamber piece focused on the life of Andrew Cunanan, requiring not much more than closed sets, a handful of terrific actors, and a well-written script. A season set in Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans will likely be much more complex than that, and therefore take even longer to accomplish. If production took as much as a year, Season 3 might not debut until the fall of 2019 instead of the spring.
Regardless, viewers shouldn't have to wait another two full years for more American Crime Story. But television as rich and compelling as this anthology takes time to produce… and if that requires a bit of patience from the fans, then that's a small price to pay.