5 Shows (and 2 Movies) You Didn’t Know Ryan Murphy Helped Create

Ryan Murphy is, of course, one of the major voices and creators in television right now. With massive hit shows like Glee, American Horror Story, The Politician, and Hollywood, he has such a unique position in the industry. He’s obviously been making shows for a while. Because of this, there are tons of series he’s worked on that are less well-known. Here are a few, which include a couple of movies, too. 

Ryan Murphy backstage at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 09, 2019.
Ryan Murphy backstage at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 09, 2019 | Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

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Popular was a show that aired on The WB back in 1999. It went for two seasons and followed two teens: Sam and Brooke. They couldn’t be any more different, with Brooke a popular cheerleader and Sam a less-liked school journalist. Their worlds are forced to collide when Brooke’s dad and Sam’s mom marry. Think of it as a similar Step-Brothers situation. Minus the drumset. 

Murphy was the showrunner for the show: he created it, directed a couple of episodes, wrote for it, and was executive producer. Murphy is known for using his favorite actors in several different projects, so you’ll see a familiar face with Leslie Grossman as a fellow cheerleader, Mary Cherry. 


Nip/Tuck is Murphy’s longest-running series before Glee came along in 2009. It ran on FX from 2003 through 2010 and was all about two plastic surgeons, McNamara and Troy. They worked on cases that had to do with crimes but not always. Both had serious serial hookup issues, but it was a drama through and through. It went on to earn many Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. 

The New Normal

The New Normal was a sitcom that premiered on NBC and only ran for one season. Murphy was also the full showrunner for the show, and directed four of the 22 episodes. The show focused on a single mother, Goldie Clemmons, who had her child unexpectedly nine years prior. Her husband is unfaithful and her grandmother is judgemental and conservative, so Goldie leaves Ohio for Los Angeles. There, she meets Bryan and David, a gay couple who are looking for a surrogate. They all make their own little family from there. 

The Normal Heart

With Murphy’s popular show Pose, he looked at the 1980s ball culture in New York City amid the HIV-AIDS crisis. This HBO movie also looked at the crisis from a different community and point of view. It stars Mark Ruffalo as an openly gay writer, Ned Weeks, who has a friend directly affected by the disease (Jonathan Groff). Ned goes into investigating the government’s involvement (or lack thereof) and sheds a lot on what gay men went through during this time. It also stars Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, and Jim Parsons, who all appear in other Murphy productions. 

9-1-1′ and its spinoff, ‘9-1-1: Lone Star

Some fans might already know that Murphy was the creator and showrunner for 9-1-1, but it’s also not like his other work so many others didn’t. Either way, he created this show and it started in 2018 and is still going on today. It’s a procedural drama about — you guessed it — first responders. It stars Murphy favorites like Angela Bassett and Connie Britton.

The spinoff is a similar premise, except it’s set in Texas. This one stars Rob Lowe and Liv Tyler. 

Eat, Pray, Love

Lastly, it’s not a secret that Murphy sticks to mostly television. So this is probably his biggest movie he’s worked on, although it’s not his only one. It stars Julia Roberts as a woman looking for purpose and renewed meaning in her life. To do this, she goes on a journey to Italy, Indonesia, and India. Murphy directed and co-wrote this film.

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