It’s a good time to be Ryan Murphy.
The prolific producer on Sunday took home his first Emmy in the outstanding limited series category for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story — which collected 10 awards all told — and saw fellow FX anthology American Horror Story: Roanoke become the franchise’s third-most-watched installment ever. Additionally, Murphy is in production on his third FX anthology, the star-studded Feud, which reunites him with former AHS leading lady Jessica Lange and boasts a cast that includes Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Catherine Zeta-Jones and newly minted Emmy winner Sarah Paulson, whom he says will be back for the ACS take on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
With four series on the air (including season two of Fox anthology Scream Queens), two kids at home and a limited series win finally in his pocket, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Murphy at the Emmys about season two of American Crime Story, why O.J. cut through and TV’s true crime explosion as well as what’s next.
You’re halfway through writing Katrina. How has the process of People v. O.J. influenced you?
We’re trying to get it right. We’re not going to shoot it until we get it right and we had that liberty with O.J. We had more than half of the scripts done and pretty much locked before we started shooting. We’re in no rush; we just want it to be good and to get it right, and nobody is pressuring us.
You’ve got four shows — American Horror Story, American Crime Story, Scream Queens and Feud — all of them anthologies. Would you ever go back to serialized again?
I want to follow the same character for five or six years. I love doing pilots. I would not do that thing where a show went on indefinitely; I’d want to start it knowing there’s an end and the thing I’m cooking up has that. I would love to do that with Sarah [Paulson], too. So fingers crossed.
This was your first win in the limited series category. What was it about Crime Story from Horror Story as well as the rest of the pack this year?
I think O.J. was that thing that touched every demographic; it was a real four-quadrant show, which I’ve really never done before. Teenagers watched it; grandparents watched it; families watched it; people who lived through it watched it; and people who had never done it watched it. I felt it was the most mainstream thing I’ve ever done; the most crowd-pleasery, even though it was about a terrible and vicious double murder. I think it came at the exact right moment in time.
I never really think about it because I think what we did [on O.J.] was different and personal and I always wish other people luck. I don’t think about it; I don’t think I have an opinion. Every time something hits big, it brings in a wave of people who enjoy that genre. It had been done before for years, and years and years many times before we did it. Just like the miniseries/limited series had been done 30 years before American Horror Story.
You helped revive the miniseries and brought back the anthology. Have you thought about doing individual episodic anthology stuff like Black Mirror?
I don’t know. I’m so busy with what I’m doing — with four shows and another hopefully coming on — that I just trying to live! (Laughs.) And I have two toddlers! I’m literally just trying to get through the f—ing day for the first time ever, which is a very interesting feeling. Maybe! I like trying anything that upsets the paradigm of what people think will work.