Ryan Murphy raised some eyebrows when he added American Horror Story to his docket alongside Glee back in 2011. Juggling multiple television shows at once is tricky in its own right; doing that while making the leap from comedy-musical to straight-up horror is another kind of challenge entirely. But the high ratings on American Horror Story: Freak Show tell a cut and dry success story, so give Murphy a hat tip for making the most of his genre hopping exercise.
If finding balance between funny and frightening across two separate series is hard, though, is it any easier when both elements are rolled into one brand? That's a question Murphy will answer with his next venture, Scream Queens, which has just been picked up by Fox for a fifteen episode order. It's the best of both Murphy worlds: take the terror of American Horror Story, fold in the humor of Glee, and presto chango - you have a hybrid series that combines punchlines and viscera.
The news comes from The Wrap, who report that Scream Queens will begin production in the Spring of 2015 for a Fall 2015 premiere. Structurally, Murphy will borrow more from American Horror Story than Glee for Scream Queens. The show will follow the same anthology format, telling a single, complete narrative each season and starting the whole dance anew with the next go-round. The focal point for the show's first installment will be a college campus that's become the scene of a murder most foul - or make that several - and Murphy's currently looking for two female leads to headline.
As it happens, that casting blueprint will remain one of Scream Queens' recurring elements going forward. Murphy himself sounds pretty excited about the concept from top to bottom, though to take him at his word, he's actively looking to cobble his cast together already. Check the full quote below:
"We hope to create a whole new genre — comedy-horror — and the idea is for every season to revolve around two female leads. We've already begun a nationwide search for those women, as well as 10 other supporting roles, and we're very grateful to Dana and Gary for their enthusiastic support."
Two things stand out here, the first being his pledge regarding the "nationwide search". Murphy's phrasing can be read numerous ways, but the knee jerk interpretation suggests that Scream Queens won't call on any Glee or American Horror Story alumni to star. Maybe he's trying to find fresh, unknown talent to stand front and center, or he may end up hiring familiar faces in the end, and all of this speculation will be for naught. We'll have to wait and see exactly what his intention ends up being.
The other tidbit of note is Murphy's comment regarding the show's "comedy-horror". It's understandable that Murphy wants to mash up the predominant styles that drive his best-known projects, so nobody should hold that against him; at the same time, people like Sam Raimi, Fred Dekker, Stuart Gordon, Peter Jackson, Joe Dante, and Edgar Wright have made their careers on marrying laughter with scares, so Scream Queens won't be breaking new ground for anybody but Murphy. More power to the creator, but comedy-horror has been a hit since Abbott and Costello first ran into Frankenstein (and even before that).
Originality aside, it will be interesting to see Murphy craft a show dedicated toward blending his favorite pursuits together, and how he'll fit Scream Queens into his schedule alongside American Crime Story, to boot. Though with Glee heading into its last season, he may find himself with more wiggle room sooner than later.
We'll keep you up to date on Scream Queens as more info becomes available.
Source: The Wrap