I have this image in my head, crystal clear. It’s John Landraf, president of FX Networks and unofficial Mayor of Television, sleeping comfortably in his bed, an eight-inch pile of paperwork outlining viewership data on his nightstand, with his TV quietly playing his channel in the background, most likely a 1:00 a.m. showing of Captain America. He’s wearing one of those stocking caps people wore in old movies, with pictures of the moon and stars on it, and the little fuzzy ball on the end. He looks very peaceful. Then, suddenly, the phone rings and he jolts awake. (Ringtone: The Terriers theme song.) He looks at the caller ID and sighs.
“SEASON FOUR OF AMERICAN CRIME STORY WILL BE ABOUT MONICA LEWINSKY.”
“But… we haven’t started season two yet.”
“I HAVE FOUR EPISODES WRITTEN. SARAH PAULSON ALREADY AGREED TO APPEAR.’
“… … Fine. I’ll have a press release drawn up in the morning.”
I’m aware that this vision probably is not accurate, and isn’t especially flattering to either party. (Although I am serious about that stocking cap. Let me have that part, at least.) I’m quite that sure Ryan Murphy pitches his new shows and future seasons of current shows in professional, Hollywood meetings, during the daytime, and that John Landgraf is more than happy to hear about all of them, especially after the O.J.-centered first season of American Crime Story lassoed both the public’s attention and more trophies than you can fit in a standard two-car garage. I’ll cop to all that. But even though the rational part of my brain knows all of this… yeah. The image is still crystal clear.
Just look at Murphy’s current dance card. The first season of Feud — his new anthology series about famous feuds throughout history, which starts with Joan Crawford and Bette Davis — doesn’t premiere until next week, and he’s already announced that the second season will focus on Charles and Diana and the British royal family. This might strike you as a wee bit ambitious, until you realize that American Crime Story, with just the one season in the books so far, already has its next three seasons mapped out: one on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, one on the murder of Gianni Versace, and the aforementioned season about the Clinton-Lewinsky fiasco, which I was not kidding about and must star John Travolta as Bill Clinton — reprising his Primary Colors role — or I will literally spit on the floor in anger.