Starz' hit series American Gods has finally found someone to take the reins of the show, with Jesse Alexander coming aboard to share showrunning duties with author Neil Gaiman. They both replace Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, who developed the series together with Fremantle Media and created the show for Starz. Fuller and Green parted ways with the series in late November. Here's what author/showrunner Neil Gaiman had to say about the new showrunner.
"I'm thrilled that Jesse is [the] showrunner. He loves and understands the book, he loves and understands the TV series and he's dedicated to making future seasons of American Gods as good and as beautiful and as unique as they can be. Shadow's journey is going to take him, and Mr. Wednesday, and the New Gods and the Old, to some very strange places. I'm glad that we, and the cast and crew, will have Jesse shepherding us on the way."
After the original showrunners left in November, there were rumors that surfaced last month that the show was in trouble, with stars such as Gillian Anderson and Kristen Chenoweth reportedly leaving. Starz CEO Chris Albrecht revealed that Neil Gaiman was taking a more hands-on role with the show, serving as one of the two-showrunners as the network continued to search for the right collaborator to work alongside Neil Gaiman as the second showrunner. The original showrunners reportedly left after clashing with the show's producers, Fremantle Media, over the show's ballooning budget. Sources claim that several established showrunners turned down the gig before Jesse Alexander came aboard.
Series creators Bryan Fuller and Michael Green had already written the first six episodes of American Gods Season 2, which was renewed by Starz in May. However, the network is planning on scrapping those scripts and starting over fresh with Jesse Alexander. One of the other reasons for Bryan Fuller and Michael Green's departure is that the creators didn't see eye to eye with Neil Gaiman about the vision for the second season, which was not a direct adaptation of the author's source material. Gaiman reportedly wanted a showrunner to come in and produce a "straight take" of his novel, which would involve completely ignoring the cliffhanger left at the very end of Season 1.
Under Fuller and Green, the first season reportedly went $30 million over budget, resulting in Starz cutting the season order from 10 episodes to eight episodes. The network reportedly set a budget of $9 million per episode, but Fuller and Green reportedly asked for more to produce a 10-episode season. Sources claim that Starz may now trim the Season 2 episode count, which was never confirmed when the renewal was issued, to keep the show within its budget. While a premiere date has yet to be confirmed, the second season is being targeted for a January 2019 premiere. Ironically, Jesse Alexander most recentl worked on CBS All Access' Star Trek Discovery, the show Bryan Fuller left to focus on American Gods. You can head on over to The Hollywood Reporter for their full report.