FX Boss Explains Why Ryan Murphy Had to ‘Clean the Slate’ for ‘American Horror Story: 1984’ Cast

TCA 2019: Regular Murphy staples Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters are absent from upcoming Season 9

Last Updated: August 6, 2019 @ 10:08 PM

Apart from a few familiar faces like Emma Roberts, Cody Fern, Leslie Grossman and Billie Lourd, the stars of “American Horror Story: 1984” are mostly newcomers to the FX anthology series. And noticeably absent from the announced cast for Season 9 are several staples of the franchise, including Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters.

For fans wondering why Paulson and Peters, among others, aren’t returning for the upcoming installment of Ryan Murphy’s “AHS,” FX Networks and FX Productions CEO John Landgraf has your answer: Season 8 a.k.a. “American Horror Story: Apocalypse,” the crossover between “Murder House” (Season 1) and “Coven” (Season 3).

“Remember, he did something really interesting, which is he decided to weave multiple different cycles through the eighth season, and so it was the biggest cast ever,” Landgraf told TheWrap during the Television Critics Association press tour Tuesday. “You had actors that were playing 2-3 different characters. You had to bring back all the cast from prior seasons. It was a monster in terms of the size of the cast, cost of that cast. You can’t do that all the time.”

Regarding the Season 9 cast, the FX boss said: “Part of what he needed to do, which is what he did, was clean the slate, start over.”

Last summer, FX renewed “American Horror Story” for Season 10 — before Season 8 had even premiered. (Yes, Season 10, because the show was previously renewed by FX for Seasons 8 and 9 at the same time.)

However, Landgraf doesn’t know if/when they’ll pickup the show for Season 11, as that call is Murphy’s, who exited an overall deal with his longtime studio 20th Century Fox Television last year for a mega-pact with Netflix and is currently busy building up his slate at the streaming service.

“It really is up to Ryan,” Landgraf said of Murphy. “He works with Tim Minear and Brad Falchuk. He is just kind of a crazy, generative genius. I’ve been doing this along time, it’s unique to me how much stuff comes out of that guy’s fertile imagination. I got to imagine that there comes a moment in time where he’s gonna go to the well and it’s gonna be dry. So far that hasn’t happened.”

As to when the franchise ends, well, that’s also Murphy’s decision.

“The thing about Ryan that is so interesting to me… I’m a planner and he is a man of emotion and spontaneity. He gets these inspirations, and when he gets them he goes. The truth is, I would be really surprised if Ryan had an idea at the moment for the 10th episode [of Season 9].”

Like, he doesn’t even know if the prolific producer has an idea in mind of Season 10 yet.

“If he has it, he hasn’t shared it with me,” Landgraf said. “I’m methodical and he’s unbelievably rigorous in what he does. He’s a person of impulse.”

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