Ryan Murphy Is Reportedly Leaving Netflix. What About Other Producers?

Netflix has contracts with Shonda Rhimes, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, among other producers.

Ryan Murphy poses wearing a beige suit.
Ryan Murphy produced “Glee,” “American Horror Story” and “The Politician.” FilmMagic

Ryan Murphy, the film and television producer behind Glee and the Dahmer anthology, is planning to leave Netflix for Disney at the end of his contract, Bloomberg reported. Murphy signed a five-year agreement with Netflix (NFLX) in 2018 to create exclusive content for the streaming platform in a deal reportedly worth up to $300 million. The details of a contract with Disney are unclear.

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His most popular series for Netflix is Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, a true crime anthology about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. The show ranks among the platform’s 10 most-watched English series, with more than 1 billion hours viewed in 60 days. Murphy also produced The Watcher, a mystery thriller following a married couple with a stalker. The series, which is based on a true story, totaled 273 million viewing hours in its first two weeks on the platform.

Netflix has attracted a roster of high-profile producers in recent years, but the company must also work to retain talent as contracts come to a close. Netflix already lost Kenya Barris, the producer of Black-ish who walked out of his $100 million contract in 2021, halfway through the four-year deal. Netflix wanted down-the-middle programming, while Barris’s voice was edgier, he told the Hollywood Reporter.

Another Netflix contract could be up soon, alongside Murphy’s. In 2019, Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss signed with Netflix after a decade at HBO. They are reportedly employed for five years, which means they will either have to renew or sign with a new company soon. While at Netflix, the two producers worked on The Chair, a dramedy series starring Sandra Oh, and Metal Lords, a dramedy film about high schoolers who start a metal band. They are currently working on  3 Body Problem, a science fiction show that will launch in January 2024.

After originally signing with Netflix in 2017, producer Shonda Rhimes, known for Grey’s Anatomy, extended her deal by five years in 2021. Three of the shows she created for Netflix are among the most watched on the site, including Inventing Anna and two seasons of Bridgerton

Producing duo Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter also have a partnership with Netflix that grants the platform first rights to films produced through the Berlanti-Schechter Films production company, which they co-founded in 2020. Netflix hasn’t yet picked up any of its movies, and it is unclear how long the deal lasts. Separately, Berlanti worked on You and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina for Netflix, but he’s also known for Riverdale and Dawson’s Creek. Schechter also produced Riverdale and The Flash television series.

Who is Ryan Murphy?

Murphy produced six films and seven television shows for Netflix. Movies include Pray Away, a documentary about conversion therapy, and The Prom, a musical comedy that he also directed. Murphy wore many hats for the television shows he worked on. He is credited as a writer, director and executive producer for a series of titles, including The Watcher; Hollywood, a drama about filmmakers in the post-World War II era; and The Politician, a dramedy series about the American political system starring Ben Platt.

Murphy created a series of titles before working at Netflix, including Glee, American Horror Story and Scream Queens. He also directed Eat, Pray, Love. Earlier in his career, Murphy worked as a journalist for The Miami HeraldLos Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly. He entered the film industry after Steven Spielberg purchased the rights to a romantic comedy Murphy wrote called Why Can’t I Be Audrey Hepburn? The movie wasn’t released.

A move to Disney would have Murphy working under Dana Walden, the co-chairman of Disney Entertainment. Murphy spent most of his career working alongside Walden at Fox. The two are close personal friends, according to Bloomberg. Together, they worked on Glee and American Horror Story.

Ryan Murphy Is Reportedly Leaving Netflix. What About Other Producers?