FX golden boy Ryan Murphy is jumping ship when his contract expires in July, and moving over to Netflix. Netflix announced the deal last night, and The New York Times reports that it’s worth up to $300 million — one of the largest-ever overall deals for a showrunner.
He’ll produce series and films as exclusive Netflix original content, including two that were already in the works — One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest fan fiction Ratched, and The Politician, a political satire starring Dear Evan Hansen Tony-winner Ben Platt.
The huge roster of shows that Murphy created while at FX — American Horror Story, American Crime story, Feud, and 9-1-1 — will remain there, as will the recently announced 1980s musical drama Pose.
Murphy expressed uncertainty about remaining at FX and 20th Century Fox after the studio was acquired by Disney in December of last year. He’s known for graphic and shocking work, as well as racial and sexual provocations — sometimes with intent and often without. During a Television Critics Association press tour in January, he recounted telling Disney CEO Bob Iger, “The stuff I do is not Disney and I’m not interested in that and I’m concerned about that. ‘Am I going to have put Mickey Mouse in American Horror Story?’” Iger reportedly courted him personally, to reassure him that the company was actually interested in his offbeat hit-making power.
Netflix has had a licensing deal with FX for many years, and nearly all of Murphy’s previous works are already available to stream on the platform. Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement, “Ryan Murphy’s series have influenced the global cultural zeitgeist, reinvented genres and changed the course of television history. His unfaltering dedication to excellence and to give voice to the underrepresented, to showcase a unique perspective or just to shock the hell out of us, permeates his genre-shattering work.”
Murphy added, “I am awash in genuine appreciation for Ted Sarandos, Reed Hastings, and Cindy Holland at Netflix for believing in me and the future of my company, which will continue to champion women, minorities, and LGBTQ heroes and heroines, and I am honored and grateful to continue my partnership with my friends and peers at Fox on our existing shows.”
The Murphy deal is another power move by Netflix, similar to the $10-million-a-year contract that it used to pull Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes away from ABC in August.