FX winter 2017 TCA recap: ‘American Horror Story’ renewed, Donald Glover inks overall deal, diversity update, Peak TV continues


A day after FOX made a splash at the winter 2017 Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour in Pasadena, California, it was FX Networks and FX Productions’ turn to take the stage on Thursday. Highlights from the day include FX reaching an overall deal with Donald Glover, “American Horror Story” getting two additional installments, and upcoming series and season premiere dates.

Here’s a recap of FX’s day at winter 2017 TCA:

FX premiere dates

FX set premiere dates for the following shows:

  • “FEUD: Bette and Joan” series premiere: March 5 (10 ET/PT on FX)
  • The Americans” season premiere: March 7 (10 ET/PT on FX)
  • Archer” season premiere: April 5 (10 ET/PT on FXX)

Overall deal with Donald Glover

FX Productions has signed Donald Glover, the Golden Globe Award winning creator of Golden Globe Award winning comedy series “Atlanta,” to an overall television production deal. This means Donald will develop TV series for FX Networks and other networks and streaming services, in addition to continuing his roles as executive producer, writer, director and star of “Atlanta.”

“Donald is a remarkable artist, effortlessly shifting from actor to writer, producer, director and musician to create one amazing project after another,” said Nick Grad, President of Original Programming for FX Networks and FX Productions. “’Atlanta’ was just the beginning, the breakout comedy of the year and a series revered as much for its originality as its honest look at the experience of being aspiring, young and black in that legendary city. We’re proud to partner with Donald in an overall deal that will allow him to continue turning his creative vision into incredible television.”

FX also announced that “Atlanta” will return for Season 2 in 2018.

“American Horror Story” renewed for two more installments

FX Networks has ordered two more installments of the Emmy, Golden Globe and AFI Award winning series “American Horror Story,” adding an eighth and ninth year to the previously announced seventh installment.

“’American Horror Story’ launched the modern limited series revolution and – as evidenced by the most recent installment ‘Roanoke’ – it remains as vital today as when ‘Murder House’ stunned audiences six years ago,” said FX Networks and FX Productions CEO John Landgraf, who made the announcement. “Each new chapter is a cultural event, beloved for every new twist in imagery, style, cast and plot. We are thrilled that Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and the entire creative team will continue to deliver the groundbreaking, celebrated ‘American Horror Story’ for years to come.”

Scheduling changes for “American Crime Story: Katrina” and other shows

During the network’s executive session at TCA, John also noted that the “Katrina” installment of “American Crime Story” will be pushed back to 2018. The “Versace” installment will remain the third in the series and will air within six months of “Katrina.”

When asked about the delay, John explained: “It’s just taken us time, frankly, to get material we’re happy with. And also, by the way, when you’re shooting in New Orleans, you have to worry about hurricanes. You can only shoot there during certain – you can only get insurance during certain times of the year.”

Later in the session, someone asked about audiences losing interest in shows that take time off, like “American Crime Story,” “Atlanta” and “Fargo.”

John replied with an old saying in contracting: “Do you want it now or do you want it good?”

Diversity efforts at FX

FX’s progress on its diversity efforts was also a topic of conversation during the executive session. John showed the audience a prepared slide, which showed at the end of 2016, 52 percent of the network’s directors were people of color or white women, a far cry from white males comprising 88 percent of its directors.

John credited FX’s focus on diversity to a Variety article published in November 2015, which put a spotlight on the diversity issues at FX and other TV content creators. He said the push isn’t about just directors but about writing staffs and people at all levels of FX’s shows.

“It’s a work in progress,” John said, adding that the work isn’t done. “We’re going to keep going until everything about our channel is fair and better reflects the diversity of the population of the country we live in and is not skewed, as the whole industry has been, towards white heterosexual males.”

Peak TV endures

There were 454 scripted original series on TV in 2016, up 8 percent from 420 in 2015. The total for 2016 exceeded John’s summer projection of 430-450.

“I’m going to go out on a limb and still think it’s possible that ’17 or ’18 will be the peak,” said John, who coined the term “peak TV.” “There’s extraordinary amounts of resources and capital in the Silicon Valley, and they’re beginning to flow through Netflix and Amazon and now others into the programming business, and that is creating an acceleration at the moment of this increase in programming.”

2016 was a banner year for FX

At the start of the executive session, John, joined by Presidents of Original Programming for FX Networks and FX Productions Eric Schrier and Nick Grad, put numbers to FX’s strong 2016, “the best year in our 22-year history.” Among them were 56 Emmy nominations and 18 Emmy wins, four Golden Globe Awards, four TCA awards and three AFI distinctions.

“In terms of year‑end best shows in 2016 lists, this year, in the U.S., we culled together, believe it or not, 152 total critics’ lists, up from 146 a year ago,” John said. “Because of so many great shows, many of you expanded your list beyond the traditional top 10 shows. So of more than 2,000 mentions on year‑end best lists, which is an increase of more than 10 percent over the 1,800-plus we cited last year, FX just edged out HBO – although statistically, we’d call it a tie – tallying 406 inclusions while HBO totaled 403, and Netflix ranked third with 344.”

He added that “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” made 128 “Best of 2016” lists, more than any other show in 2016. “Atlanta” was No. 2 with 119 and “The Americans” was No. 3 with 91.

“While I get a lot of credit for what we do at the network and it’s generally a privilege to speak as the face of our organization, what we’ve accomplished is truly owing to the collective efforts of a large and amazing team,” John said.

Show panels

Snowfall,” “Fargo,” “Taboo,” “Man Seeking Woman,” “Baskets,” “The Americans,” “FEUD” and “Legion” hosted panels at the network’s winter 2017 TCA day.

Take a look at TCA-related tweets from @FXNetworks.