Following the success of American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy sought to bring the anthology series model to a younger-skewing audience with the arrival of Scream Queens, which debuted last September on FOX. The series blended horror and comedy to take a satirical look at the millennial generation using a season-long whodunit mystery surrounding the Red Devil killer that terrorizes a university sorority.
Murphy managed to bring together a talented group of young actresses for the project, including some he has worked with in the past such as AHS alum Emma Roberts and Lea Michele of Glee. The original scream queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis, was also a member of the ensemble cast, nabbing a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy for her portrayal of the ruthless Dean Munsch. Despite the name recognition and heavy promotion by the network, the series struggled in the ratings and seemed unlikely to reach a second season. However, FOX's loyal relationship with Murphy and the show's solid numbers in delayed viewing proved enough to earn a season 2 renewal, giving Scream Queens a second chance to prove it could become a successful franchise.
Now there's been word where the second season will take place, and which members of the original cast are slated to return. Following a panel at PaleyFest, FOX released the first teaser for season 2 on the show's Instagram account that confirmed the action will take place in a hospital, and revealed which actors will return for another round. The clip features a hospital bed in the middle of a dark hallway as the names of the returning cast members are successively displayed in bold red letters. They include Roberts, Michele, Curtis, Abigail Breslin, Keke Palmer, Billie Lourde, Glen Powell, and Niecy Nash. The most notable name missing from the list is Skylar Samuels, who portrayed the first season’s central character Grace Gardner.
The hospital setting could prove to be an appropriate location to showcase the show's fun, campy storylines and often gruesome sequences, but the most noteworthy news to come from the panel is that the cast will be playing the same characters from the first season. According to EW, executive producer Brad Falchuck explained the new season will center around Dean Munsch forging a new battle after buying a hospital:
“She’s abolished the Greek system in the country, she’s written her book, she’s traveled the world, and she says, ‘I need a new mission. I need a new battle.’ And she identifies healthcare as her new battle.”
Falchuck also revealed that Zayday (Palmer) is on her way to becoming a doctor, Denise (Nash) has joined the FBI, and the Chanels (Roberts, Breslin, Lourde) are in a mental institution. With Powell's Chad Radwell as the only returning male character, the show will also be adding three "studly, hot doctors" to the mix.
While it'll be nice to see Scream Queens move away from a university setting, the choice to eschew the model Murphy has successfully used with American Horror Story is a curious one, especially given the show's relatively low ratings. Creating an entirely new story with the cast playing vastly different characters could help broaden it's audience to viewers that weren't intrigued by its original premise. Instead, now it seems solely dependent on its small but loyal fan base for its continued survival.
Screen Rant will provide more information on Scream Queens season 2 as it becomes available.