Today at the TCA panel for his new Fox series 9-1-1, Ryan Murphy expressed his reaction to the pending Disney-Fox merger, saying it was an “emotional” one given how he cut his teeth in television at Fox.
“I was not very prepared for what happened,” said Murphy. Toward the end of the session, he added, “I’m hopeful”.
In regards to whether he’ll continue with Disney after the merger, Murphy said, “I haven’t made a decision of where I’m going to go, but I’m going to wait and sit back” as the second iteration of Fox production takes form. Murphy is one of the biggest talents on the 20th TV roster, and his deal is coming up. Murphy is very close with Fox chairman/CEO Dana Walden, who has been rumored for many positions around town.
Wherever Murphy lands, he wants to continue to carry the torch for women and people from diverse backgrounds.
“I’ve created a company that’s really trying to move the bar forward by hiring women and minorities and getting equal pay for women,” he said, “and I want to continue that wherever I go. I want to make sure that community is being taken care of.
“When I started in 2003,” Murphy continued, “I was told I was someone who was not employable; I was too specific and niche. I did Nip/Tuck, which was my first that worked and I was given priority from that point on to create with Brad [Fulchuk] and Tim [Minear] and other collaborators the things I really loved like Glee, American Horror Story, American Crime Story, Feud, 9-1-1 and Normal Heart. On paper, what these projects had in common was that they weren’t supposed to work,” he added.
“What they also had in common is that I was surrounded by an incredible group of executives at FX and Fox who always allowed me to find my interest and passion and believed in me — from Dana Walden, John Landgraf, Peter Rice and Gary Newman. Three months ago, I thought I was going to be buried on the Fox lot. I had my mausoleum picked out. I started working there in my 30s, and many of us had young children who would play together.”
When the news of the merger hit, Murphy said he received a phone call from the Murdochs and Disney boss Bob Iger, both reiterating how Disney was interested in Fox for what he created in the sophisticated adult TV sphere. Disney had a reputation for taking over communities like Pixar and Marvel and keeping them intact.
“The stuff that I do isn’t specifically Disney,” said Murphy. “I was concerned: Do I have to start putting Mickey Mouse in American Horror Story?”