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Ryan Murphy has lined up his next act.
The prolific producer behind FX hit American Horror Story is adding companion miniseries American Crime Story at the same network. Like AHS, American Crime will be produced as an anthology series focused each season on a different real-life crime story that made headlines and captivated the public’s imagination. The first 10-episode installment is entitled The People v. O.J. Simpson, based on Jeffrey Toobin‘s best-selling book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson.
The project will a look at the O.J. Simpson trial told from the perspective of the lawyers, and is poised to explore the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering on both sides of the court. More significantly, it will display how a combination of prosecution confidence, defense wiliness and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave a jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.
American Crime began at broadcast sibling, Fox, where it was being developed as a limited series written by Golden Globe winners Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (The People vs. Larry Flint). The writing partners, along with original producers Brad Simpson (World War Z) and Nina Jacobson (Hunger Games), will move with the entry to FX, where they’ll pen the first two episodes. They’ll be joined by Murphy and his AHS co-creator Brad Falchuk as well as Ryan Murphy Production’s Dante Di Loreto as EPs, with Murphy also set to direct. Production is expected to begin early next year in Los Angeles.
“Time and time again, Ryan Murphy has transformed the medium of television by redefining genres and formats as he did with Nip/Tuck, Glee and the American Horror Story franchise, and we expect the same of American Crime Story,” said FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. “Scott and Larry have adapted Jeffrey Toobin’s book into a masterful 10-hour piece. I have no doubt that Ryan and his partners, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, and Dante Di Loreto are going to make something very memorable here – and that it will be a spectacular first entry in what is destined to become a series of great true crime-based miniseries.”
Added Murphy: “This is an exciting project for me, as I’ve been looking for the right property which could serve as an extension of the American Horror Story brand I love so much. The O.J. case was as tragic as it was fascinating– it seemed like everyone had a stake in the outcome. It was really the beginning of the modern tabloid age.”
The series is being produced by FX Productions, where Jacobson and Simpson’s Color Force has a deal and where the project began, and by fellow AHS studio Fox 21. The anthology format will not only enable the team to lure top talent care of its more flexible one-season-and-done schedule but also offer viewers a fresh new concept that should serve to reinvigorate the show on a yearly basis
“When Ryan has passion for a project, our entire company is energized by his enthusiasm and spectacular talent,” noted Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman. “Nothing is more exciting than starting a juicy, new franchise with him, and the team behind-the-scenes is top-notch – a ‘dream team’ that rivals any ever assembled.”
The news comes the day before Murphy’s AHS is set to premiere its fourth season, appropriately sub-titled Freak Show. In addition to the popular, Emmy-winning horror series, Murphy’s resume includes musical dramedy Glee, which will air its sixth and final season on Fox, and the recent HBO adaptation of The Normal Heart. The latter earned the Emmy for best TV movie and a sequel is already in the works. His HBO drama, Open, is not moving forward.
Murphy is repped by CAA and attorney Craig Emmanuel; Jacobson and Simpson are repped by CAA; Alexander and Karaszewski are repped by CAA and attorney Christine Cuddy; Falchuk is repped by WME and Gendler & Kelly; and the rights for Toobin’s book were repped by ICM Partners.
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