I’ve said before I’ll say it again: Ryan Murphy is the busiest man in Hollywood. A non-stop production machine, Murphy has produced at least two series a year–be it a continuation of a series like Glee or a new off-shoot of something like 2016’s The People vs. O.J. Simpson–every year since 2009. With his new series Feud, another anthology series with the first season depicting the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, debuting in March, the man shows little signs of stopping down. With such prolificacy, it’s apparent that one would hear Murphy’s name quite a bit in the news, almost everyday in fact. Just today Annette Bening was announced as the first official cast member of the second season of American Crime Story, subtitled Katrina. Although Bening is the only confirmed cast member of the second season, which won’t air until 2018, the show and its producers haven’t hesitated in revealing seasons already in the works.
Announced not long after the first season–O.J.–aired, the second season of the crime anthology will depict the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with Bening portraying the former governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco. Not long after that was announced, FX, the network which airs American Crime Story revealed that season three would depict the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace. Not to be outdone, though, the network announced in January that season four would center around the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the ensuing impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. Yes, this is a lot to keep up with. With season two not even begun filming, it can be puzzling to think why FX and Murphy are so gung-ho about announcing the next seasons so early. Still, knowing Murphy, the rapid successions of headlines feels entirely normal.
Murphy’s shows are consistently based “in the now,” even seasons of American Horror Story like Asylum and Freak Show which are set in the 1960s and ’50s, respectively. Whether Murphy is commenting on the AIDS epidemic with the backdrop of the fight for marriage equality like his HBO film The Normal Heart, or casting a metaphor on the increased violence against African-Americans with O.J., Murphy is not one to shy about tackling headlines with the content of his shows. Due to this, it is understandable why Murphy wants to utilize such incendiary events to capitalize on his own brand, and there is no better time to due so than the present. By announcing the themes of his many, many shows months and years earlier than they will be released, Murphy manages to stay ahead of the curve and to build excitement. Although the fourth season of his American Crime Story liked won’t air until 2019, he can create suspense for how the real life case against the former President will be depicted–and for how it will possibly parallel the Donald Trump presidency, a man who has also been accused of numerous sexual assault allegations.
Murphy will continue to prematurely announce his projects, and I personally cannot blame him for staying ahead of the game. If he doesn’t announce the basis for season five of ACS before we ever see the opening of season two, I’ll be quite surprised at the lack of courage from Mr. Murphy.