Starz’s big-budget drama American Gods has been making headlines in the past couple of months with the surprise exit of the masterminds behind the genre series, executive producers/showrunners Michael Green and Bryan Fuller, who created the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2001 award-winning novel. It was followed by statements by co-stars Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth that they would not or may not be coming back.
“We’re having some trouble getting the second season underway,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht admitted during the network’s portion of winter TCA. “It’s not ideal to have 18 months or two years between seasons.”
American Gods is produced by FremantleMedia North America.
“Our partners at Fremantle are working with Bryan and Michael and their schedules, working out a way for them to continue to be involved,” Albrecht said. He confirmed that “Neil Gaiman will be taking more of a central role, moving forward into a more traditional showrunner function.” “We’re looking for a partner for him who can ensure that the television part of this get the appropriate attention.”
Asked to clarify Fuller and Green’s involvement going forward, Albrecht said that they “will be involved as much as they can be, it’s a little bit up in the air as to what their role will be.”
As for the duo’s abrupt’s exit, “they were not fired nor did they quit,” Albrecht said. “There is a very good relationship between Fremantle and Michael and Bryan, and everyone’s trying to work this out, everyone wants that to be a win-win for the people involved and the fans, everyone wants to keep as much of the team intact as possible.”
Albrecht also was asked to address information that the reasons behind Green and Fuller’s exit stemmed from disagreements over the series’ budget.
“Not surprisingly if you’ve seen the show it’s not an inexpensive show,” Albrecht said. “Budget is always a factor although Fremantle has been terrific in wanting to invest. It’s a big show, it’s a monster show and it’s faced many of the challenges that terrific complex premium shows face trying to get seasons, especially when art comes before commerce.”
On Anderson and Chenoweth’s possible departures, “I think there’s been some confusion around the cast exits,” he said. “Gillian Anderson seems to be leaving everything but this was not a surprise,” he said, referring the actress’ recent statements that she would not be doing more X-Files in addition to not returning to American Gods. “But Kristen Chenoweth is still as far as we know committed to the show obviously depending on her availability.”