The Starz series American Gods, which is based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, got off to a strong start. It was a critically-acclaimed, and beloved by those who read the book, and yet late last year, the second season hit an unusual speed bump.
According to a report from last November, showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green stepped down from the series over supposed ballooning budgets. These growing budgets came at a time where FremantleMedia had a changing of the guard of scripted chief, and the new guy, Dante di Loreto, was reportedly looking to impose budget cuts. Clearly, something had to give, and the series has been without a showrunner since.
Speaking at the TCA on Friday, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said that Gaiman himself would be promoted to showrunner:
“Neil Gaiman will be moving into a more traditional showrunner function. We’re looking for a partner for him to ensure the television part of this gets the appropriate attention.”
This quote was a bit questionable, as Gaiman is already showrunning Good Omens for Amazon, and the author took to Twitter to clarify the statement, saying:
“I’m already showrunning GOOD OMENS and I won’t be physically showrunning two shows. But I plan to work really closely with the new showrunner, and to help plot and guide and build American Gods, just as I did when Bryan & Michael came on as showrunners.”
And speaking of Fuller and Green, it sounds like they may still retain some involvement:
“Bryan and Michael will be involved as much as they can be. It’s a little bit up in the air as to what their exact role would be. A lot of that is between Fremantle, Neil and Brian and Michael. This is one we do through an outside production company. We’re not in direct negotiations. It goes through our partners. It is a big show. It is a monster show. It’s faced many of the challenges that terrific, complex, premium shows face in trying to get a successful season.”
Considering how they appeared to leave, it seems a bit odd that they’d stay involved, given their departure, but Albrecht made it perfectly clear that they are still in good standing with one another. He also clarified the whole budgetary issue.
“They were not fired, nor did they quit. There’s a very good relationship between Fremantle and Michael and Bryan. Everyone is trying to work this out and have this be a win-win for the people involved and the show itself. Not surprisingly, it’s not an inexpensive show. I think budget is always a factor although Fremantle has been really terrific about being willing to invest. This is about a vision that can be [maintained] on a regular basis. [It’s] obviously not ideal to have two years in-between seasons. Fremantle needs to know there is a formula to get the show on. We’d like to know as well. It might be the thing Bran and Michael are doing in their schedule has not allowed them to focus in the way Fremantle wants them to, but I don’t know.”
When all said and done, it sounds like some hard choices were made, but in the interest of sustainability, it probably was a good idea to revisit that budget.
What do you think? Are you worried the budget will ultimately result in an uglier show? Let us know your thoughts down below!