American Gods Season 2 halted in its tracks late last year when it was announced that executive producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green were leaving the series. Now Starz is clarifying that the producers aren’t leaving completely, but roles are shifting in the visual epic.
Starz boss Chris Albrecht told reporters during the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Friday that American Gods author Neil Gaiman will be taking a more central, traditional showrunner role for Season 2 and the hunt continued to find Gaiman a producing partner to handle the television logistics part of the job.
“As you are seeing, we’re having some trouble getting the second season underway. It’s an incredibly difficult adaptation of a fantastic novel,” Albrecht said. “It’s one of the reasons it took so long to get to the screen in the first place. Bryan [Fuller] and Michael [Green] working with Neil Gaiman have done a phenomenal job. Our partners Freemantle are working with Byran and Michael and their schedules [to find] a way for them to continue to be involved.”
Albrecht also elaborated on why Fuller and Green decided to step back from the series — clarifying that they were neither fired nor did they quit — but there were concerns about budget and being able to produce the series on a timeline that was beneficial to the producing company Freemantle, Starz and the audience.
“Budget is always a factor even though Fremantle has been really terrific in being willing to invest. I think this is about is there a vision that can be executed on a regular basis?” Albrecht said. “Obviously [it’s] not ideal to have 18 months or two years in between seasons, especially given how competitive … the world has become. I think Fremantle needs to know that there’s a formula where they can get this show on. We’d like to have the same thing as well. The things that Bryan and Michael have been doing haven’t allowed them to focus the way Fremantle has wanted them. Although, I don’t know that specifically, but given everything that’s going on it seems like we’re finally on a path to get this on track to a definite Season 2.”
Fuller and Green will still be involved in the series but negotiations are still ongoing as to what their exact roles with the show will be. However, Starz is not directly involved with those discussions.
“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. A lot of that is between Freemantle and Neil and Bryan and Michael, because this is one of those shows that we do through a studio,” Albrecht said. “We’re not in direct negotiations with the actual executive producers and the people working on the show. That goes through our partners. It’s a big show, it’s a monster show. It has faced many of the challenges that terrific, complex premium shows face in trying to get successive seasons, especially when art comes before commerce.”
As for reported cast exits, Albrecht says they are not as dire as what’s been reported. Gillian Anderson was expected not to be able to return for a sophomore effort, but fans should not be so nervous about Kristen Chenoweth as Easter.
“There’s been some confusion on the cast exits. Gillian Anderson seems to be leaving everything, but this is not a surprise. We knew that she was not necessarily going to be able to come back, but Kristin Chenoweth as far as we all know is still committed to the show, obviously depending on her availability,” the executive said.
Season 1 of American Gods is currently available on the Starz App.