Ryan Murphy Inks Giant Deal With Netflix

Another mega producer is leaving their longtime TV studio home to head to Netflix. In what is believed to be the biggest TV pact ever, Ryan Murphy, an Emmy, Golden Globe and Peabody Award-winning producer, director and writer, has signed an overall deal with Netflix, which sources say could reach as high as $300 million. It starts July 1.

Under the multi-year agreement, which one industry insider called “the deal of a lifetime for an artist of a lifetime,” Murphy and his Ryan Murphy Productions will produce new series and films exclusively at Netflix. Murphy is moving to Netflix, which also is home of top broadcast drama showrunner Shonda Rhimes, after a long stint at 20th Century Fox TV.

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Netflix

“Ryan Murphy’s series have influenced the global cultural zeitgeist, reinvented genres and changed the course of television history. His unfaltering dedication to excellence and to give voice to the underrepresented, to showcase a unique perspective or just to shock the hell out of us, permeates his genre-shattering work,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix. From Nip/Tuck – our first licensed series – to American Crime Story:  The People v. O.J. Simpson and American Horror Story, we’ve seen how his brand of storytelling captivates consumers and critics across the globe. His celebrated body of work and his contributions to our industry speak for themselves, and we look forward to supporting Ryan in bringing his broad and diverse stories to the world.”

Netflix was among a slew of suitors for the prolific writer-producer-director, whose current deal with 20th Century Fox TV expires this year. The streaming giant had aggressively pursued him and already had gotten in the Ryan Murphy business by outbidding other SVOD/premium buyers twice to snag both of hisstreaming series, Ratched and The Politician.

“The history of this moment is not lost on me,” said Murphy. “I am a gay kid from Indiana who moved to Hollywood in 1989 with $55 dollars in savings in my pocket, so the fact that my dreams have crystallized and come true in such a major way is emotional and overwhelming to me. I am awash in genuine appreciation for Ted Sarandos, Reed Hastings and Cindy Holland at Netflix for believing in me and the future of my company which will continue to champion women, minorities and LGBTQ heroes and heroines, and I am honored and grateful to continue my partnership with my friends and peers at Fox on our existing shows.”

Murphy, one of the top creator-producers working in television today, has pulled off the rare feat of launching commercial and award-winning hits on both broadcast and cable. As the producer admitted at TCA in January, he also had been courted by Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger. Disney is in the process of acquiring key Fox assets, including 20th Century Fox TV. While I hear Murphy very seriously considered both options,  the timing worked better for Netflix, which provided a clear vision for the future and opportunity for Murphy to pursue TV series, films and documentaries — all under the same roof. Meanwhile, the alternative at the combined Disney-Fox company was still a subject to speculation because the deal is far off.

Murphy’s Netflix deal puts an end — at least for the time being — to one of the most successful collaborations between a creator and an executive in television.

“I wish Ryan well, and I know everyone at our company feels the same,” said Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden, who has worked closely with Murphy for years and counts him as a close personal friend. “We are lucky to have so many projects with him.”

Indeed, all eight series Murphy has on the air are with 20th TV/Fox 21 TV Studios, and, at least for the next year, he is expected to be focused on them, continuing to work with the team at the studio as well as Fox and FX. I hear Walden was approached about joining Murphy at Netflix. She is currently committed to her job at Fox and has been rumored for a potential top post at Disney-Fox. But, given the duo’s long history and close partnership, it is possible for them to again work together in the future.

Ryan Murphy’s new original series, Ratched and The Politician, will premiere globally on Netflix. Murphy also oversees production on American Crime Story, American Horror Story, Feud, 9-1-1 and the upcoming Pose.

The deal for Murphy was negotiated by CAA.

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