As if they weren’t busy enough, Glee gurus Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have just announced plans for a new project at FX (where they did Nip/Tuck): It’s a drama pilot called American Horror Story, and it’s on a very fast track at the network. Casting will begin immediately, Murphy will direct the pilot himself this April, and if FX likes the finished project, the series will debut this fall. So what’s the potential show about? Proving he’s a master of marketing, Murphy’s not saying. Yet.
FX’s lengthy press release for American Horror Story contains quotes from Murphy, Falchuk and FX chief John Landgraf. There’s a whole paragraph dedicated to making sure everyone knows Murphy and Falchuk are still fully devoted to Glee (“We haven’t taken our eyes off that ball for a second,” Murphy preemptively explains). But what’s not in the nearly 600-word release is a description of just what American Horror Story is about. When Vulture asked an FX rep if there was a logline for the show, we were told simply, “There is not.” About the only clues to the show’s plot are the title (it’s probably not a rom-com!) and this hint from Falchuk’s press-release quote: “John immediately got what we were trying to do, which was bring the horror genre to television but with our own subversive sensibilities.” So maybe it’s Saw meets Rocky Horror?
By shrouding the project’s plot in secrecy, of course, Murphy and Falchuk are brilliantly beginning the marketing campaign for the series (and yes, we know FX is only calling this a pilot, but if you’re FX and you just struck out with Terriers and are struggling with Lights Out, are you going to say no to a Ryan Murphy show? No, you are not). Just as J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg kept the lid on the logline for Super 8, Team Murphy is very likely trying to create a sense of mystery around American Horror Story.
Look for details about the show to leak out quickly, however: It’s one thing for Abrams and Spielberg to threaten jihad on any agent or actor who dares spill even a single bean about Super 8. There are too many players involved in the making of a TV show, however, for word not to get out about this project, particularly since it’ll have to be cast in just a matter of weeks. And as David E. Kelley found out recently with Wonder Woman, TV scripts are widely circulated around Hollywood these days; it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Horror script online by week’s end. Team Murphy also knows how to work the media, and work it hard: Barely a week goes by without some sort of juicy detail about an upcoming Glee episode or song or controversy hitting the Interwebs. That is not an accident.
In any event, getting Murphy to create a new show is a major win for FX and Landgraf, particularly since it seemed the producer’s next project was headed for Fox. Last September, word leaked out that Murphy and 24 producer Howard Gordon were putting together a show about phobias for Fox. But as Vulture first told you last week, Gordon is now exec producing Kyle Killen’s NBC pilot REM instead, while Murphy has decided to focus on American Horror Story.