American Gods wowed audiences when it first hit Starz earlier this year, but the show hasn't been without its problems. And it's facing some major hurtles as Season 2 grows nearer. The show's top executive has been pretty open about the troubles the fantasy series, based on the works of Neil Gaiman, is facing. Of which include Gaiman's own role as a producer on the drama.
In just the past few months, showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green have both bailed on the series. Star Gillian Anderson isn't coming back, and Kristin Chenoweth isn't sure where she stands. While the show debuted in April of 2017, there is no 2018 return date locked in just yet. Starz CEO Chris Albrecht had this to say about the confusing cast exits and rumors swirling around the show.
"There's been some confusion around the cast exits. Gillian Anderson seems to be leaving everything, but this not a surprise, we knew she was not necessarily going to come back. Kristin Chenoweth, as far as we all know, is still committed to the show, obviously pending her availability because, as you are seeing, we're having some trouble getting the second season underway. It's an incredibly difficult adaptation of a fantastic novel. It's one of the reasons it took so long to get to the screen in the first place. Bryan and Michael working with [author] Neil Gaiman have done a phenomenal job, and our partners Fremantle are working out with Bryan and Michael and their schedules a way for them to continue to be involved. Neil Gaiman will be taking a more central role moving forward into a more traditional showrunner function, and we're looking for a partner for him who can ensure that the television part of this gets the appropriate attention. We're very committed to American Gods. We love the show; as I mentioned before, it did very well for us. We're hoping for many more American Gods to come on Starz."
Albrecht was also faced with questions about Fuller and Green leaving the show, with one publication naming Neil Gaiman as the new show runner. Which was news to Gaiman, who acknowledges that he will play a bigger role, but isn't taking over by any means. Albrecht went onto say this.
"They were not fired, nor did they quit. There's a very good relationship between Freemantle and Michael and Bryan. Everyone is trying to work this out to have this be a win-win for the people involved and the show itself. They're tremendous fans of the material and have a terrific relationship with Neil Gaiman, and all things being considered, everyone wants to keep as much as the team intact for as long as possible. Bryan and Michael will be involved as much as they can be. It's a little bit up in the air as to what their exact role will be ... It's a big show, it's a monster show. It has faced many of the challenges that terrific, complex premium shows [have] when trying to get successive seasons, especially when art comes before commerce. ... Not surprisingly if you've seen the show, it's not an inexpensive show. Budget is always a factor, but Freemantle has been really terrific in wanting to reinvest. This is about is there a vision that can be executed on a regular basis. It's obviously not ideal to have 18 months or two years between seasons, especially given how competitive the world has become. Fremantle needs to know that there's a formula where they can get the show on, and we'd like to have the same as well. It might be that the things that Bryan and Michael were doing in their schedule would not allow them to focus in the way that Fremantle has wanted them to, although I don't know that specifically. It seems like we're on a path to get this on track to a definite season 2."
A new report heading into this weekend stated that Neil Gaiman would be taking on a bigger role, akin to show runner status. But Gaiman clarified this in a series of tweets he sent out, saying he's already show runner on a completely different show, and doesn't have the same kind of time to devote to American Gods.
"I suspect there's some crossed wires somewhere. I'm already showrunning Good Omens and I won't be physically showrunning two shows. But I plan to work really closely with the new showrunner, and to help plot and guide and build American Gods, just as I did when Bryan & Michael came on as showrunners. We are in the process of finding a new showrunner (and very close to an announcement)."
It sounds like American Gods is hurriedly trying to dig its way out of this hole it's suddenly found itself in. And perhaps it will all work out for the best. There's no telling when we'll get to enjoy new episodes of American Gods. For now, you can check out Neil Gaiman's Twitter updates here.