Ryan Murphy Is Coming To Netflix For One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Prequel Series

one flew over the cuckoo's nest

Ryan Murphy has had a magic touch on the small screen for years, and he currently has two successful anthologies getting bigger by the season on FX. Now, however, Murphy is attached to a project that will take him to a streaming service for the very first time. He's slated to executive produce a prequel series based on the legendary villainess Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, called Ratched.

Ratched will be the origin story of Nurse Ratched, who One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest fans will remember as the nurse who ruled a mental institution with an iron fist. In the movie, she was willing to go so far as forced shock therapy and lobotomizing to maintain control. The new Netflix series will begin Ratched's story in 1947 and follow her transformation from nurse into mental institution villainess.

Netflix is showing a great deal of faith in the series, as the streaming service has already ordered two seasons of Ratched for a grand total of 18 episodes. There was apparently a great deal of competition for Ratched, as Deadline reports Hulu and Apple were both interested in the series as well, and an intense bidding war took place before Netflix ultimately came out on top. Ryan Murphy is on board as executive producer, and he'll direct the first episode.

The role of Nurse Ratched has already been cast, with Ryan Murphy bringing one of his regulars in to play the leading lady. Ratched herself will be played by Sarah Paulson, who is best known for her roles in Murphy's American Horror Story and American Crime Story. In fact, Paulson won an Emmy in 2016 for her performance in the first season of American Crime Story and is set to star in the third season. Filming for Ratched will begin sometime in the middle of 2018, after American Crime Story Season 3 filming has finished.

Michael Douglas is on board as an executive producer. He produced the original 1975 film that starred Jack Nicholson, and he could be a valuable resource for Ryan Murphy and Sarah Paulson. Interestingly, the announcement of his involvement in Ratched comes a few weeks after news broke that he would star in an upcoming Netflix original comedy. He co-produced One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975 with Saul Zaentz, who has since passed away. His nephew, Paul Zaentz, is attached to produce Ratched in his uncle's place.

All things considered, Ratched has a pretty solid recipe for success. Ryan Murphy projects tend to do well, and Sarah Paulson has proven capable of tackling just about any role after what she has done on American Horror Story and American Crime Story. Michael Douglas could certainly be key as one of the film's producers. Shows like Bates Motel and Better Call Saul have made it clear that viewers are willing to tune in to see the origin stories of popular pre-existing characters.

It may be a while before Season 1 of Ratched is available on Netflix, but you can catch Sarah Paulson in action on a Ryan Murphy project with American Horror Story: Cult, which just debuted with all the creepy clowns anybody could have wanted. New episodes air on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX. Our fall TV guide can point you in plenty of other TV directions as well.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).