Paul Lee, President of the ABC Entertainment Group, has addressed the confusion between ABC’s sophomore show and an upcoming drama from FX. ABC’s American Crime TV series is an anthology from John Ridley. The second season of American Crime premiered January 6, 2016, with stars including Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton, returning.
FX’s American Crime Story TV series is also an anthology. The first season retells the saga of the OJ Simpson trial. The show is a companion piece to the FX American Horror Story TV series, which was created by American Crime Story EP, Ryan Murphy. Cuba Gooding, John Travolta, and David Schwimmer are among this new show’s cast.
During his Saturday presentation at the TCA winter press tour, ABC’s Lee touched on the naming issue.
Lee gave a shout-out to the second season of anthology drama “American Crime,” calling it “John Ridley playing at the height of his game.” He was asked about the issue of confusion with FX’s upcoming “The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” He admitted that FX came after ABC to have “a conversation” about the title touchiness. But ultimately he’s confident that the shows will stake out their own turf. “It’s really interesting to see the slow burn of people getting into this series,” he said.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s online site, STLToday.com, reports:
ABC’s “American Crime,” back for a second season, could in fact be confused with FX’s new “American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson.” Both are anthology series, in that cast members recur in a different story each season. “I should probably say nothing, but they went after us, and, yes, we did have a conversation,” Lee said. “But, that being said, we went first. … There’s probably room for both, to be honest.”
We have heard from readers who are frustrated by the series’ similar titles. In truth, it has caused near mistakes, on our story board. While ABC must find it frustrating, FX likely has a business reason in mind, for sticking with its show’s name, despite ABC having used “American Crime,” as its show title, a year ahead of time.
FX and Murphy seem to be building an American [X] Story franchise (think Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and Chicago Med shows on NBC, not to mention a rumored spin-off). FX ordered its crime show, five months before the ABC show premiered.
Even though ABC got there first, FX and Murphy probably stuck with the American [X] Story title structure, because is is part of their brand, per se.
With the FX series, American Horror Story, each new season’s subtitle appears after the main title. The fifth and current season is American Horror Story: Hotel. That show’s season five finale will air Wednesday, January 13, at 10:00pm, ET/PT.
FX is billing its new crime show in the same fashion. The first season’s full title is American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson.
ABC’s show, American Crime, has used the same, two-word title, in both its first and second seasons, with no subtitle or changes.
Do you find the American Crime and American Crime Story TV show titles too confusing? Do you think FX should have come up with another title, or will viewers figure it out, soon enough. Sound off, in the comments.