Last May, Starz announced that it had renewed its fantasy series American Gods for a second season, only to run into a significant bump later in the year: showrunners Michael Green and Bryan Fuller left the show, reportedly over issues about its budget. After a search, the network has now hired a their replacement: Jesse Alexander, a producer who has worked on several other projects with Fuller, such as Star Trek: Discovery and Hannibal.
In January, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said that Greene and Fuller were still involved in the show, but that “it a little bit up in the air what their exact role will be.” Fuller has since begun work to develop a television adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. Albrecht noted that author Neil Gaiman would work in a “traditional showrunner role,” alongside a more experienced producer. Alexander appears to be that: in addition to working on Hannibal and Star Trek: Discovery, he also worked as a producer on Lost, Alias, and others. Gaiman tells The Hollywood Reporter that Alexander “loves and understands the book, he loves and understands the TV series and he’s dedicated to making future seasons of American Gods as good and as beautiful and as unique as they can be.”
THR’s report claims that there were additional tensions that went beyond the show’s budget. While Green and Fuller had already completed scripts for the season’s first six episodes, THR says that Gaiman wasn’t thrilled with the direction that the show was going in, and wanted more faithful adaptation of the book and that those episodes will likely be tossed out. However, Gaiman has disputed reports of his displeasure on Twitter:
Green and Fuller’s departure from American Gods has caused considerable worry for the future of the project. The pair created a visually distinctive and deeply political show, and without their guidance, word of their departure made it difficult to imagine how that unique vision will be sustained. Even with Gaiman and Alexander at the helm, we’ll have to see if the show will retain its unique look and feel.
Some of the show’s cast seemed unsure of their future in the project as well. Kristin Chenoweth, who played the goddess Easter in the show’s first season, said that she didn’t know if she’d return in light of Fuller’s departure, saying that when he “was the showrunner, I was coming back for several episodes, but I don’t know now. It depends on who it is and if they think I add value or not.” Gillian Anderson, who played Media, also said that she wouldn’t be returning in light of their departure. It’s not immediately clear if they will return, now that Starz has hired Alexander to guide project.
While the show was expected to return sometime this year after it was renewed, the search for a replacement showrunner makes that seem unlikely, and THR says that it will return sometime after an estimated January 2019 return.