It’s hard not to get excited whenever a new Ryan Murphy series gets announced. For every The New Normal there’s a Glee or American Crime Story to bring the drama (and sometimes even some musical covers!). But what if we told you Ryan Murphy was preparing to develop a brand new anthology TV series looking at one of the greatest feuds of all time? And what if we told you the prolific producer had enticed leading lady Jessica Lange back for the project? Is your head about to explode? We hope so, because it’s ALL HAPPENING.
The brand new limited series is called Feud and it will keep Ryan Murphy at FX, where he also has American Horror Story and American Crime Story. The general premise of the anthology series will be that each season focuses on an epic feud from history. The first season will focus on an epic entertainment feud, specifically the one that occurred between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis way back in 1962 during the filming of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. The feud became about as legendary as the cult film, with whispers that Joan Crawford may have lobbied against Bette Davis at the Oscars and that Davis made some undercutting comments to Crawford’s face, as well. In a word: drama.
FX has ordered 8 episodes of Feud already, and the new project seems to be chugging forward nicely. Not only is Jessica Lange signed on to play Joan Crawford, Susan Sarandon has nabbed the role of Bette Davis. In addition to those heavy hitters, Alfred Molina is signed on as Robert Aldrich, who directed What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and Stanley Tucci will play Jack Warner. Hedda Hopper was just a character in Trumbo played by Helen Mirren, but in Feud Judy Davis nabbed the role. Dominic Burgess has also been signed on to play Victor Buono.
The pilot episode is based on a script written by Jaffe Cohen and Michael Zam, which Ryan Murphy apparently purchased and repurposed for TV. Murphy will also direct some and will executive produce alongside Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner. Leads Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon will produce.
Narratives based on true-life stories have become increasingly popular on TV. A lot of the stories we’ve been getting have been true crime narratives rather than something of the TMZ variety, however. In fact, Ryan Murphy already delved into one of these stories with American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson. The new series did incredibly well for FX and a second season has been ordered because of the critical buzz and solid numbers.
In fact, FX doesn’t have as many solid ratings performers as it once had, but Ryan Murphy projects have done well for the cabler. Feud should be another solid project from the man. It’s an even better bet because it’s an anthology series. If fans don’t end up being super excited about the drama, this particular "feud" narrative will wrap up after eight episodes. If people don't dig it, FX could try something else or leave Feud as a standalone. If it's great, there are certainly a ton of additional feuds that could be explored.
For now, see what FX has coming up with our summer TV premiere schedule.