American Horror Story Spinoff Series in the Works, Says Ryan Murphy

The American Horror Story franchise is set to expand with a self-contained-episodic anthology spinoff series.

Sarah Paulson on American Horror Story: Apocalypse
Photo: FX

American Horror Story may have dug firm roots in the television landscape with its anthological strategy of returning with a fresh new story each season with a mostly-recurring cast, but the main visionary of the near-decade-running FX series, Ryan Murphy, has revealed that a spinoff series will see the franchise take the whole anthology concept further.

In an Instagram post, co-creator/executive producer Murphy talks about a recent Zoom meeting with his repertory AHS cast players, announcing that he’s working on an anthology spinoff series titled American Horror Stories, which—besides a pluralization—will differentiate itself from the “mothership” series by showcasing self-contained one-hour episodes. In essence, it’s an anthology series in the classic sense, tapping a genre—that brimmed back in the ‘80s—in the midst of a resurgence in recent years due to the bellwether success of Netflix’s Black Mirror among others.

That, however, was the extent of what Murphy could divulge about the Zoom meeting spinoff series discussion, along with another top-secret subject, the expected production window for American Horror Story Season 10. With a cast set in place earlier this year, Murphy had already confirmed the return of bedrock personnel such as Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters, along with repertories like Kathy Bates and Billy Lourd. However, the tenth season will tout a notable newcomer in former child superstar Macaulay Culkin, who Murphy—with a certain cheeky glee—recently teased will have a “crazy, erotic” sex scene with Bates.

Interestingly, while production on AHS Season 10 has obviously come to a standstill—like everything else in the civilized world—due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global health crisis-caused delay has also affected the series in a profound way pertaining to its very plot. Indeed, while Murphy has not revealed too many details, he stated in a recent interview with The Wrap that said plot makes the shoot “a weather-dependent show,” which makes the delays unsustainable. Consequently, Murphy is mulling the decision to put the original Season 10 story on the backburner; a luxury he can actually afford, since FX renewed the series for three more seasons—not counting Season 10—back in January. As Murphy explained of his AHS Season 10 quandary:

“So now I don’t know. I don’t know what we’re going to do. I don’t know what I’m gonna do next with that show. I don’t know if I’ll accelerate another season or wait till next year to shoot this one.”

However, the aforementioned Zoom meeting might have seen Murphy reveal some privileged key developments on the Season 10 front; developments that were, perhaps, the meeting’s primary purpose. Yet, the details he might have let loose in secret wouldn’t likely do anything for the expediency of the just-revealed American Horror Stories spinoff series project, with said tenth season certainly destined to be the primary focus of the franchise’s attention once things get back to normal/semi-normal status. This is especially the case if, as he’s done with fact-based cousin American Crime Story, Murphy will use the spinoff as yet another platform for his regular players.  

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Nevertheless, we’ll keep you updated on American Horror Stories as the news arrives.