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Katrina: American Crime Story, starring Annette Bening, has been delayed and will now air in late 2018, with production beginning early next year on what will be the third cycle of the Ryan Murphy anthology. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story will become the second season of the franchise and air in the early part of 2018 as the follow-up to Emmy darling The People v. O.J. Simpson.
The change in plans comes as Katrina — based on Douglas Brinkley’s book The Great Deluge — requires additional time to create special water effects needed to re-create Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Scheduling for the star-studded cast — which also includes returning players Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Courtney B. Vance as well as franchise newbies Matthew Broderick and Dennis Quaid — is also said to have been a factor in the delay. For his part, Murphy has also been busy readying his Fox straight-to-series drama 911.
In speaking with reporters at the Television Critics Association’s January press tour, FX CEO John Landgraf said that American Crime Story would go on a long hiatus for 2017 before getting back on cycle with both follow-up seasons airing within six months of one another. He outlined plans to air Katrina first in early 2018, followed by Versace, which stars Darren Criss, Edgar Ramirez, Penelope Cruz and Ricky Martin. At the time, Landgraf noted the challenges of shooting in New Orleans, which can be difficult to insure during hurricane season.
The People v. O.J. notched nine Emmy wins and garnered an FX-best 13.9 million viewers per episode. Murphy and fellow executive producers Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk and Tom Rob Smith are also exec producing Versace. The second season is being written by Smith, with Murphy directing the series premiere of the Fox 21 and FX Productions drama.
Meanwhile, producers are also plotting a fourth season, which will explore the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Sources note the Lewinsky project is starting to heat up with Murphy looking for a newcomer to take on the role.
Versace, meanwhile, started production in April in Miami with the first two episodes already completed. The season, based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History, will explore the July 1997 assassination of legendary designer Gianni Versace (Ramirez). His murderer, Andrew Cunanan (Criss), committed suicide eight days later as Miami-Dade police were on the verge of capturing the serial killer behind five slayings. Oscar-winner Cruz stars as Donatella Versace, the sister of the slain fashion designer, who took over the company following his death.
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