The hot mess that is Starz’s ‘American Gods’ just got hotter and messier. Last year, showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green exited after fighting with Starz over the show’s budget and creative direction. In February, Jesse Alexander was named the series’ new showrunner and it seemed that ‘American Gods’ was finally on its way to delivering a second season, two years after the first. Now, things just took another step back, as Alexander has been benched. Actually, while the term “fired” isn’t being used, Alexander was “asked to stop working” on the series. Alexander was also an executive producer, but “has been asked not to sit in on editing, be involved on set or participate in any other areas of production or postproduction.” Then again, Fuller and Green were also “not fired” from the series, yet do not appear to have any involvement with the second season, after they penned six scripts that were thrown out. Starz and production studio Fremantle don’t want the negative buzz of firing yet another showrunner, but that seems to be the case, regardless. Apparently, another writer was promoted to replace Alexander, but quit shortly thereafter. Also Starz was apparently unhappy with Alexander’s output because it wasn’t the same as what Fuller and Green created. Well… maybe you shouldn’t have fired them.
There have also apparently been struggles between Starz and Fremantle– Starz wanted to cut the budget for the second season. Fremantle mainly produces cheap reality shows, like ‘American Idol’ so the logistics of an ambitious scripted program like ‘American Gods’ is a bit outside of their usual game. As one anonymous source stated, “I don’t know which problems came from Starz and which came from Fremantle, but I know that there was serious disagreement about what they were making.”
On top of that, Neil Gaiman, the author whose novel is the basis for this show, wanted to exert more control over the adaptation. But Gaiman has seemingly devoted more of his time and attention to Amazon’s ‘Good Omens’, leaving ‘American Gods’ in a lurch.
Alexander had reportedly turned in two drafts of the script for the second season finale which Starz and Fremantle have rejected. One insider states that they are now on their seventh draft of that script and as a result, the show has fallen six weeks behind of its production schedule. And speaking of scripts, the cast, headed by Ian McShane, have started improvising their dialogue which is also causing issues as this conflicts with union regulations.
However, Starz issued the following statement:
“American Gods has a deep and complex mythology and a unique visual style that makes this series one of the most ambitious productions on television, and one that we remain committed to delivering for our audience. We are confident that when the fans get their first look at season two in just a few weeks at New York Comic-Con, they will agree it was worth the wait.”
Fremantle issued their own separate statement, saying:
“We stand by our network partner’s statement and share in their confidence that season two will exceed expectations. Our cast and crew are extremely passionate about the show and have delivered something that remains loyal to the source material and true to the creative vision of Neil Gaiman. We think fans will feel the same when we share a first look at New York Comic-Con in a few weeks.”
At least the two entities agree that something will be ready for NYCC. Completely separate, but season two was already hampered by Gillian Anderson‘s departure. Now it seems that Kristin Chenoweth also won’t be in season two due to scheduling conflicts. Hot. Mess.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter