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Starz Is Trying to Get Bryan Fuller and Michael Green “Involved as Much as They Can Be” in American Gods Season Two

During the Starz appearance at the winter Television Critics Association (TCA), the network understandably received a number of questions about the future of American Gods, their TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed novel of the same name. The first season was a critical success, fueled in part by the distinct artistic vision of showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, but the two have since departed the show. Actress Gillian Anderson also said she won’t return in her role as the god Media, and actress Kristen Chenoweth was unsure about her return as the god Easter. Fans are wondering just how much will change when their much-loved show returns.

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“They were not fired,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, when asked about Fuller and Green, “nor did they quit … [They] will be involved as much as they can be; it’s a little bit up in the air as to what their role will be.”

“There is a very good relationship between Fremantle and Michael [Green] and Bryan [Fuller],” Albrecht said, “and everyone’s trying to work this out, everyone wants that to be a win-win for the people involved and the fans, everyone wants to keep as much of the team intact as possible.”

“Our partners at Fremantle are working with Bryan and Michael and their schedules, working out a way for them to continue to be involved,” he continued. He also said that “Neil Gaiman will be taking more of a central role, moving forward into a more traditional showrunner function … We’re looking for a partner for him who can ensure that the television part of this get the appropriate attention.”

Gaiman previously tweeted that he would not be working as a showrunner on American Gods, because of his work on the TV adaptation of Good Omens. So while he may be taking on more responsibility, as of November, he at least didn’t seem to view that role as showrunning. However, his thinking may have changed since then.

When asked whether Fuller and Green’s exit was due to budget discussions, Albrecht said, “Not surprisingly, if you’ve seen the show, it’s not an inexpensive show. Budget is always a factor, although Fremantle has been terrific in wanting to invest. It’s a big show, it’s a monster show and it’s faced many of the challenges that terrific complex premium shows face trying to get seasons, especially when art comes before commerce.”

(So was that executive-speak for “yes”?)

Albrecht also addressed some questions about the returning cast. “I think there’s been some confusion around the cast exits,” he said. “Gillian Anderson seems to be leaving everything, but this was not a surprise.” According to a write-up in The Los Angeles Times, Anderson had said that “the departure of showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green means she will not return to the show,” seeming to suggest that she specifically cited Fuller and Green’s departure as her motivation. However, she is also leaving The X-Files after Season 11, so Albrecht seems to want to recast her American Gods decision as part of a larger pattern instead.

And as for Chenoweth, Albrecht seemed to believe she was coming back. “Kristen Chenoweth is still, as far as we know, committed to the show,” he said, “obviously depending on her availability.”

With all these questions about the cast and crew, it’s unclear what American Gods will look like when it returns. One thing’s for sure, though: it’s going to be an interesting ride for Season Two.

(Via Deadline; image: Starz)

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