Glee cre­ator to swap Fox for Net­flix in $300m five-year deal

Streaming ser­vice flexes its fi­nan­cial mus­cle to woo TV pro­ducer Ryan Mur­phy

The Guardian - - INSIDE | NEWS - Mark Sweney

Ryan Mur­phy, the cre­ator of hit shows in­clud­ing Glee, Nip/Tuck and Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story, has signed a $300m (£216m) deal to make shows ex­clu­sively for Net­flix for five years.

Mur­phy’s deal, said to be the big­gest to se­cure a big-name TV pro­ducer, marks the lat­est flex­ing of mus­cle by the deep-pock­eted streaming ser­vices and is a blow to the tra­di­tional tele­vi­sion busi­ness and Ru­pert Mur­doch’s Fox net­work. Mur­phy’s con­tract with 20th Century Fox TV ex­pires this year.

Net­flix has al­ready poached Shonda Rhimes, cre­ator of hit shows for the US broad­caster ABC that in­clude Grey’s Anatomy, Scan­dal, and How to Get Away with Mur­der; the Friends cocre­ator Marta Kauf­man; and Jenji Ko­han, who is be­hind Weeds and Or­ange is the New Black.

Last year, Ama­zon got in on the ac­tion, strik­ing a deal with Amy Sher­man-Pal­ladino, cre­ator of Gil­more Girls, that has borne fruit in the Emmy-win­ning The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.

High-qual­ity pro­gram­ming is the key weapon in the bat­tle for TV viewers and the new dig­i­tal ri­vals such as Net­flix, which has an an­nual bud­get of $8bn (£5.7bn), are able to strike in­creas­ingly big deals with top on­screen and off-screen tal­ent.

Dis­ney was also in talks to strike a deal with Mur­phy. His move will be a blow as Dis­ney seeks to com­plete a $66bn takeover of 21st Century Fox.

“Ryan Mur­phy’s se­ries have in­flu­enced the global cul­tural zeit­geist, rein­vented gen­res and changed the course of tele­vi­sion his­tory,” said Ted Saran­dos, chief con­tent of­fi­cer at Net­flix. “From Nip/Tuck – our first li­censed se­ries – to Amer­i­can Crime Story: The Peo­ple v OJ Simp­son and Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story, we’ve seen how his brand of sto­ry­telling cap­ti­vates con­sumers and crit­ics across the globe.”

Mur­phy had en­joyed a long-term re­la­tion­ship with 20th Century Fox TV, which re­port­edly of­fered him up to $40m a year to stay, but the un­cer­tainty of the TV di­vi­sion’s future after the ex­pected takeover by Dis­ney helped sway him to­wards Net­flix’s open cheque book.

“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 in sav­ings in my pocket, so the fact that my dreams have crys­tallised and come true in such a ma­jor way is emo­tional and over­whelm­ing to me.”

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

Amer­i­can Crime Story: As­sas­si­na­tion of Gianni Ver­sace is com­ing to the BBC later this year.

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