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FX Delays ‘Impeachment: American Crime Story,’ Predicts Even More TV in 2020

TCA: FX Chairman and "Mayor of TV" John Landgraf unveiled his annual tally: there were 532 original scripted shows in 2019, and 2020 should be bigger.


Photo of President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky used in Starr Report to Congress


FX’s release of “Impeachment: American Crime Story” will no longer coincide with the 2020 election. Citing executive producer Ryan Murphy’s busy schedule, FX Networks and FX Productions Chairman John Landgraf said the original release date of September 27, 2020 is no longer “reasonable.” He also unveiled his annual tally of the total number of original scripted shows, with 2019 ending up as the highest volume of scripted programming ever.

“We’re making 10 episodes. Ryan, who is objectively the busiest man in show business, is not available to start production until March 21,” Landgraf said during his executive session at FX’s TCA presentation. “I don’t think [a September release date is] reasonable, given that we don’t plan to wrap until October.”

FX faced backlash for its original release date, as some were worried that a show about President Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceedings during another presidential election could affect the current race. But Landgraf said those complaints were not the reason for the delayed release.

“The factor determining that [delay] is Ryan’s availability,” Landgraf said. “The fact that we won’t be done by September is determined by his availability.”

Murphy is in production on “The Prom,” a Netflix original film starring Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman. After signing a mega-deal with the streaming giant, Murphy also has two new series set to launch on the service in 2020, indeed making him a very busy writer, producer, and director.

“Impeachment” is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book, “A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President,” with Sarah Burgess writing the adaptation and serving as an executive producer alongside Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, Alexis Martin Woodall, and Sarah Paulson. Monica Lewinsky will serve as a producer, along with Henrietta Conrad and Jemima Khan.

Earlier in the panel, Landgraf unveiled what may be the last of his biannual TV volume reports. The man known as the Mayor of Television has become a favorite of the TCA press tour thanks in part to his numbers-heavy reports on how many TV shows are being produced (as well as his ensuing analysis and predictions). Though after FX’s Disney acquisition Landgraf said he plans to cease his regular reports (because “it’s becoming an outdated mode of division”), he did share one final, terrifying tally.

Original scripted dramas, comedies, and limited series topped 500 shows for the first time since FX has been keeping count, which means it’s the first time that’s ever happened. The 2019 tally landed at 532 scripted series, up 7 percent from 2018, and Landgraf said it’s “only likely to increase” in 2020.

“Given that the streaming wars are now at hand, that total will increase substantially this year, which to me is just bananas,” Landgraf said.

Additional news from the always-informative session are listed below:

  • “Atlanta” is slated to release two seasons in 2021, rather than one in 2020 and the other soon after. Read IndieWire’s full report here.
  • FX’s adaptation of “Y: The Last Man” remains in pre-production. Landgraf said they’ve seen “five [or] six scripts” since the original showrunners, Michael Green and Aida Mashaka Croal, left and FX “did a big redevelopment” on the show. “It seems to be going well,” Landgraf said.
  • Landgraf declined to get into details about FX’s split with longtime collaborator Kurt Sutter, who left “Mayans M.C.” and ended his overall deal with the network last year. “We had a contract with him. He had a contract with us. We fulfilled our contract, he fulfilled his contract, we moved on,” Landgraf said. “Elgin [James] is the showrunner now.”
  • The biggest launch on the FX horizon isn’t one of their shows, but the debut of FX on Hulu — the network’s streaming partnership with Hulu, which came to be thanks to their shared parent company in Disney. Starting in March, FX originals will be available to stream through Hulu, with the full FX library living on the streaming service and new episodes being released on Hulu the day after they air on FX. Landgraf repeatedly stated his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating that the network hit a ceiling in terms of growing its audience through basic cable. “We see this as a transformative opportunity for the FX brand.”

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