Pretty much from the moment he arrived as a writer/producer for television, we could tell that there was something different about Ryan Murphy. That “something” goes a long way in explaining why one of TV’s busiest creators is leaving behind the television networks and cable channels to sign a $300 million exclusive deal with Netflix for series (two of which had previously been announced) and movies. The seeds for this change were planted last year, pretty much at the moment that Disney announced that it was acquiring the creative properties and most of the channels of 20th Century Fox, where Ryan had made his home from the start.

“When I started,” he shared with the attendees of the recent Television Critics Association (TCA) event, “I was told I was someone who was not employable; I was too specific and niche. I did Nip/Tuck, which was my first that worked, and I was given priority from that point on to create with Brad Fulchuk and Tim Minear and other collaborators on the things I really loved, like Glee, American Horror Story, American Crime Story, and 9-1-1. On paper, what these projects had in common was that they weren’t supposed to work.”

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Writer/producer/showrunner Tim Minear has worked with some pretty impressive creators over the years, including Joss Whedon (Angel, Firefly), Chris Carter (The X-Files), and Shawn Ryan (The Shield), but his experience serving as an executive producer/showrunner with Ryan on various series is far beyond anything he experienced in the past. “I’ve worked with Ryan now longer than I worked with Joss,” Tim tells Life & Style. “Ryan Murphy is a genius, I will just say it. I’ve never met somebody who is as driven or who has as many plates spinning, or who has as many good ideas. He is just a giant brain factory of great ideas. And he is possibly the most… no, not possibly, he is definitely the most talented producer I’ve ever met. And that’s saying a lot. I’ve worked with Chris Carter and Joss and Shawn Ryan and, you know, a lot of these guys. And they’re all incredibly talented, obviously, and visionaries in their way. But Ryan Murphy is a one in a generation kind of showman.”

Glee: Singing & Dancing Its Way to Our Hearts

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And that uniqueness was the “something different” referred to above, because each of these shows were just so wildly out of the norm that they defied conventional expectations for television. Glee had its cast break out into song and dance several times an episode. It struck a chord with the audience, while at the same time offering up frank explorations of relationships, cliques, sexuality, and ignoring the doubters in our life to achieve it all.

American Horror Story: Holy Crap, This Stuff is Scary!

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American Horror Story reintroduced the anthology to television in a whole new way. For starters, there was no shying away from violence or gore; the characters cursed at each other as many of us would in real life; and there was nudity. What the hell was going on? Again, Ryan was breaking creative barriers. In one way, however, he kept a connection with the typical anthology as a self-contained story with a beginning, middle, and end before moving on to a new tale. However, Ryan told his story over the course of a season, then, the following year, moved on to a new season-long story, bringing along many of the same actors and actresses, but in different roles. So far we’ve had Murder House (2011), Asylum (2012-13), Coven (2013-14), Freak Show (2014-15), Hotel (2015-16), Roanoke (2016), and Cult (2017), with the show being renewed for two more seasons.

“What’s great about American Horror Story is it’s different every year,” says Tim. “I would probably be tearing what’s left of my hair out if I were doing the same thing for seven years, but it’s never the same thing. So what I think American Horror Story has contributed to the culture of television is it reinvented the parameters of how you could tell a story on TV. You know, without American Horror Story, there wouldn’t be American Crime; I’m not even referring to O.J., I’m referring to American Crime on ABC. There wouldn’t be Fargo, there wouldn’t be True Detective. This was the beginning of a new way of approaching narrative fiction on television.”

American Crime Story: Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

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With American Crime Story, over the course of a season, Ryan took the murder trial of O.J. Simpson and turned what had long-ago been played out on the news cycle into thoroughly riveting television that justifiably cleaned up during awards season. It also brought tremendous attention to its cast, particularly future This is Us star Sterling K. Brown. And Ryan is currently doing the same with The Assassination of Gianni Versace, with Glee’s Darren Criss doing things that completely defy traditional television as serial killer Andrew Cunana.

Feud: Why Can’t We All Get Along?

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Then, somehow, he tackled the Golden Age of Hollywood — not exactly a period embraced by modern viewers — and did a season-long exploration of the “war” between actresses Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, respectively casting Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon, and turned that into television we couldn’t take our eyes off of. Later this year, Feud will turn its attention to the Royals in Buckingham Palace.

Currently he has the series 9-1-1 (actually going against what he usually does by being a procedural about emergency first responders) on Fox, and through it all, he observed, “I’ve created a company that’s really trying to move the bar forward by hiring women and minorities and getting equal pay for women. And I want to continue that wherever I go. I want to make sure that community is being taken care of.”

Ryan Murphy: The Netflix Years

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Which leads back to the Netflix deal, where his future shows (existing series remain where they are) will call home. “What all my previous shows also had in common is that I was surrounded by an incredible group of executive at FX and Fox who always allowed me to find my interest and passion and believed in me,” he said. “Three months ago, I thought I was going to be buried on the Fox lot. I had my mausoleum picked out. I started working there in my 30s and many of us had young children who would play together. But the stuff I do is not Disney and I’m not interested in that, and I’m concerned about that. You know, ‘Am I going to have put Mickey Mouse in American Horror Story?'”

The answer to that is a decided “no”. With the impending Disney/Fox deal, the future of many of those executives he worked with are in limbo, and Ryan simply doesn’t want to take the chance — despite being assured by Disney head Bob Iger that there was nothing to worry about — of having to fight for his creative vision. A vision that will be represented one last time on FX with the eight-episode summer series Pose, a musical drama set in the world of 1986 that, according to the network, “looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe, the downtown social and literary scene, and the ball culture world.”

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For Netflix, he has the previously announced Ratched, starring American Horror Story’s Sarah Paulson as the character of Nurse Ratched. Anyone who has seen the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest can’t help but walk away thinking, “What a biotch” when it comes to Louise Fletcher’s portrayal of the character. The question, of course, is exactly why she was that way, and this prequel TV series, set in 1947, will explore how she became the monster audiences met. The streaming service has committed to two seasons and a total of 18 episodes.

As fascinating as that is, even bigger news — and you know this is not something that would happen on Network TV — is the two-season series The Politician, which stars Ben Platt and is negotiating as we speak with Barbra Streisand and Gwyneth Paltrow to also star.

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Given all of that, it’s not surprising to hear Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos proclaim in a statement, “Ryan Murphy’s series have influenced the global cultural zeitgeist, reinvented genres and changed the course of television history. His unfaltering dedication to excellence and to give voice to the underrepresented, to showcase a unique perspective or just to shock the hell out of us, permeates his genre-shattering work. We’ve seen how his brand of storytelling captivates consumers and critics across the globe. His celebrated body of work and his contributions to our industry speak for themselves, and we look forward to supporting Ryan in bringing his broad and diverse stories to the world.”

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Added Ryan, “The history of this moment is not lost on me. I am a gay kid from Indiana who moved to Hollywood in 1989 with 55 dollars in savings in m pocket, so the fact that my dreams have crystallized and come true in such a major way is emotional and overwhelming to me. I am awash in genuine appreciation for [Netflix] for believing in me and the future of my company, which will continue to champion women, minorities, and LGBTQ heroes and heroines. And I am honored and grateful to continue my partnership with my friends and peers at Fox on our existing shows.”

They’re probably pretty honored as well, though we’d imagine, while honor is all fine and good, they’d prefer that Ryan was sticking around to create more shows for them.