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Netflix is amassing creative talent; gets ace producer Ryan Murphy to enliven prime time

There is hardly any business entity whose mass appeal can be matched with that of Netflix. In recent times, the video streamer has become an irresistible choice for many investors, as it is for entertainment buffs. Netflix continues to capitalise on its USP – quality service with focus on original content.

No wonder master craftsman Ryan Murphy ended a promising career with 20th Century Fox TV prematurely to join hands with Netflix, in a widely-anticipated move.  Murphy, an Emmy Award winner and creator of several long-running TV shows, will collaborate with Netflix to produce TV shows and advertisement films. Murphy is credited with creation of popular shows like American Horror Story, 9-11 and American Crime Story during his eight-year stint with Fox.

Ryan Murphy (courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

The $300 million deal is touted as the largest ever in the entertainment sector. It assumes significance considering Netflix’s continued efforts to establish as a mainstream feature film producer. Competitors had been vying with each other to poach Murphy ever since 20th Century Fox announced the decision to sell its prime assets to Disney. The main contenders were Amazon and Netflix.

Interestingly, Murphy is not the only big name in showbiz to be wooed by Netflix. Last year, star producer and Shondaland company chief Shonda Rhimes had severed her ties with ABC to join Netflix, under a high-value deal. Rhimes had cited lack of creative freedom as the reason for her decision. In what could be called a consolidation spree, Hollywood has witnessed migration of several top directors and producers to television in general.

In the case of both Murphy and Rhimes, who are among the most successful producers on the small screen, the lure was ‘assured success and good many.’ For Netflix, the latest deal will add vigour to its endeavour to rule the entertainment world.

In a similar development, CNB veteran Jennifer Salke has taken charge as the head of Amazon Studios, replacing Roy Price who stepped down following a sexual harassment case.

Competitors had been vying with each other to poach Murphy ever since 20th Century Fox announced the decision to sell its prime assets to Disney. The main contenders were Amazon and Netflix.

It is worth pondering over the fate of Ryan’s popular shows like 9-11. Yeah, they will stop appearing on 20th Century Fox TV from July end when Murphy’s current contract ends. Following Murphy’s change of base, the streaming space is witnessing a grossly one-sided show, which had changed course in Netflix’s favor when Rhimes was added to its fold. There is enough reason to believe that Murphy would have remained with 20th Century Fox if it was not acquired by Disney. Murphy’s exit comes as a slap in the face of Disney, which currently owns most of 20th Century Fox’s streaming business.

If there is substance to the widespread discontent among the creative team of 20th Century Fox over the Disney deal, we will see Netflix opening its doors to some other big names in the showbiz in the coming days. That would underscore Netflix’s emergence as the Google of video streaming – the perfect recipe for antitrust action from authorities at a time when the company is facing criticism from various quarters for its monopolistic status.

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