Ryan Murphy Leaves 20th TV for Netflix Mega-Deal

Ryan Murphy - New Yorker Festival - Getty - H 2017
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Ryan Murphy is joining Shonda Rhimes at Netflix.

The prolific producer behind American Horror Story and American Crime Story will exit his longtime home at 20th Century Fox Television in favor of a mega-deal at Netflix that is said to be for five years and worth $300 million, according to The New York Times

Netflix made the announcement late Tuesday that Murphy and his Ryan Murphy Productions banner will produce new series and films for the streaming giant effective July 1, when his deal with 20th Television expires. 

The Netflix deal arrives after Murphy said he was taking a "wait-and-see" approach to determining his future with 20th Television in the wake of the studio's pending sale to Disney. (The $52 billion deal is awaiting regulatory approval.) Murphy is said to have had several deals on the table, including from all three streaming services as well as a multiple-year offer from 20th Television to stay in what sources estimate was a $35 million-$40 million annual pact. Given the television studio's uncertain future amid a pending Disney acquisition, Murphy opted for the Rhimes-like Netflix deal. Murphy's departure from 20th Television comes as a blow to Disney, who lost Rhimes to the streaming giant last year in a deal worth what sources say was $100 million.

“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,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix. "From Nip/Tuck — our first licensed series — to American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson and American Horror Story, we’ve seen how his brand of storytelling captivates consumers and critics across the globe. His celebrated body of work and his contributions to our industry speak for themselves, and we look forward to supporting Ryan in bringing his broad and diverse stories to the world.”
Netflix has been aggressively pursuing prolific producers like Grey's Anatomy creator Rhimes and Orange Is the New Black's Jenji Kohan in a bid to have greater ownership of its content. Ownership is becoming increasingly important in a competitive landscape expected to top 500 scripted originals. Bringing Murphy, Rhimes and Kohan aboard means Netflix will be the exclusive home to new series from all three proven hit-makers — or own the content should programming be sold elsewhere. It's the direct inverse from how the streamer started — buying library content like Grey's Anatomy and Glee in what at the time was a financial windfall for the studios behind the monster hits.
With Murphy, as with Rhimes, Netflix is adding a showrunner whom its audience already has embraced. The streamer boasts a library that includes American Horror Story and American Crime Story, among others. Additionally, Netflix recently picked up two Murphy-produced shows straight to series in the star-studded The Politician and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest prequel Ratched, fronted by Murphy's frequent collaborator Sarah Paulson.
"The history of this moment is not lost on me," Murphy said. "I am a gay kid from Indiana who moved to Hollywood in 1989 with $55 in savings in my pocket, so the fact that my dreams have crystallized and come true in such a major way is emotional and overwhelming to me. 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."

Murphy will continue to serve as an exec producer on FX's American Horror Story, American Crime Story, Feud, Pose and Fox's 911, the latter of which has already been renewed for next season. 
The Netflix deal will, at least for now, split Murphy from 20th Television and Fox co-president Dana Walden, with industry chatter this week that the executive could move to run Murphy's Netflix-based company if the executive does not get a top post once the Fox-Disney deal is finalized. 
Murphy in January told reporters that he had his "mausoleum picked out" and thought he would be "buried on the Fox lot" when asked about his future with the studio amid the Disney sale.
"I am very emotional about it," he told reporters at TCA. "I started with Fox in 2003. And when I started with Fox, I was somebody who was told I was not employable. I was told I was somebody who was too specific and niche. And, you know, I did Nip/Tuck, was my first show that worked, and I was given an opportunity. And from that, I was allowed to create a career, and I created with Brad [Falchuk] and with Tim [Minear] and with other collaborators things that I really loved, like Glee and American Horror Story and American Crime Story and Feud and now 911, and I was allowed to do [HBO movie] The Normal Heart."
Added Murphy: "And on paper, all of those things had one thing in common, which was they weren’t supposed to work. And the one thing that they did have in common was I had been surrounded since 2003 at Fox with an incredible group of executives who have always allowed me to sort of follow my interest and passions, and they believed in me. So Dana Walden and [FX president] John Landgraf and [21st Century Fox president] Peter Rice and [20th/Fox co-president] Gary Newman and on and on and on. 
"So three months ago, I thought I would literally be buried on the Fox lot. I had my mausoleum picked out and I was just ready to just commit, you know. And it’s an emotional group because, you know, I’ve grown up there. I started working there in my 30s. Many of us have had young children that played together, and so I was very not prepared for what happened."