In July of 2023, Ryan Murphy is a free man once more. The 5-year overall deal Ryan signed with Netflix in 2018 is coming to an end and he waited until the end to dominate the charts. After having massive success with Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and The Watcher, both of which have since been renewed, he’s suddenly got a lot going for him in his negotiations. I hope the man who just received the Carol Burnett Award for Achievement in Television at the Golden Globes comes back to 20th Television and FX, now owned by Disney.
Ryan Murphy and Disney’s Chairman of Entertainment at Walt Disney Television, Dana Walden, go far back. They’re friends. She is the godmother to his sons, Ford and Logan. He credits her for giving him a chance and lighting the fuse to his explosive career. A major reason Ryan should sign to work with Disney is this friendship and connection that stretches 20 years.
Another is that he never even left!
His shows American Horror Story, American Crime Story, and Feud are still going at FX. FX President John Landgraf just shared at the TCAs that his new series, American Sports Story, should be filming before the end of the year. Ryan also is going to make a series called American Love Story. It would be nice for Ryan to focus on his work at Disney and not be obligated to create more for Netflix than the follow-ups to Dahmer and The Watcher.
A final reason I’d like to see him sign an overall deal with Disney is because Disney owns distribution rights to most of his shows through 20th TV or Touchstone TV (now ABC). If Ryan came back, that season 2 of Ratched that never started could happen. I am sure that the reason the season never went into production is because Disney stopped it. Disney still owns distribution rights on Ratched. According to my sources, Netflix only has it for its original run + 10 years.
By stopping it from going into a season 2, the countdown clock to it leaving started. Netflix was interested, but this came right around when Disney paid 1 billion dollars to Netflix in order to lure . Those titles included all of the Marvel Defenders Saga as well as Ryan Murphy’s Pose and American Crime Story. Call me crazy, but I think Disney has been posturing to lure Ryan in…
I wouldn’t be remotely shocked if Disney made another deal with Netflix to buyout the rest of Ratched’s contract the same way they did for Daredevil and friends… perhaps that’s something Ryan asks for or something Disney offers him. The Politician is another Ryan Murphy series on Netflix that 20th TV distributes. He wanted to do a 3rd and final season. Are you seeing what I’m putting out there? Disney probably wouldn’t let Netflix do that, but if Ryan comes “home,” Disney could plan to pony up and bring The Politician to Hulu to finish it off. Bargaining chips? Holding his work hostage? Maybe a bit of both.
Do you know what else Ryan Murphy has been vocal about wanting to do? Bring back the brilliant and underrated Scream Queens. A couple years he posed a question on a now-deleted Instagram post. “So many people recently have been asking me about rebooting or continuing SCREAM QUEENS (RIP, taken too soon). Emma, Billie, Lea and I have mused on it, but question: should it be a six episode limited? A catch up movie? Who should I bring back? Would love your thoughts. So many questions….”
People went crazy. They want it. He even mentioned in an interview a while later that the cast wanted to and he wanted to and that people should talk to Disney and Netflix about it. We all know Disney was never gonna let Netflix make a 3rd season. If Ryan comes back to 20th, I wouldn’t be shocked if that’s one of his requests. I’m sure Disney would be happy to fast-track.
If Ryan DOES come back, these are the 2 classic series I’d like to see him bring back. I loved Glee, but that’s not one of them. Not yet, at least. It’s far too tainted, too much loss.
1. Scream Queens (2015-2016)
It’s just incredible. I will never get enough of Emma Roberts quipping. I just wish Naya Rivera had had a chance to go up against Chanel at some point.
2. Popular (1999-2001)
I bet this one was a surprise to you. Younger generations probably don’t even know this show existed. It aired on the WB (you might know it as The CW, for now) at the turn of the century. There’s also likely a very small crowd that are aware Disney owned the streaming rights even before they bought Fox as this was a Touchstone TV show. The reason this series is unknown now because Disney has not done anything with this show in 2 decades.
It’s not on Hulu, it’s not on Disney+, and you can’t even rent or buy digital copies of the episodes like you can so many other classic shows. Popular was a precursor to Glee in many ways and a revival would be fantastic option in place of that musical dramedy. It was definitely before it’s time. Something tells me long-time collaborater Leslie Grossman would be more than happy to reprise her iconic Mary Cherry character…
In a perfect world, not only would Ryan Murphy sign an overall deal with Disney, but he’d make one of his signing requirements Popular finally joining the Streamosphere. It’s Disney’s 100th anniversary this year and a great way to celebrate would be by featuring classic ABC Studios and 20th TV series on their streaming services…
Please come home, Ryan!
Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.