Ryan Murphy and Other Big Names Who Netflix Stole From Network TV

In its quest for domination, Netflix is continuing to steal away some of the biggest names in the industry from network television. Just recently, it signed on arguably the most successful television producer working today in an absolutely mind-boggling deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And he’s not the only one making the jump to Netflix.

Here’s a look at showrunners and producers who traditionally worked for network TV — typically maintaining a relationship with one particular network  — but have now agreed to make at least one show for Netflix. Not all of them are exclusive to Netflix, but that could change in the future.

1. Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy posing in a black and white tuxedo.

Ryan Murphy | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

After being one of Fox’s hottest commodities for years, Ryan Murphy is heading to Netflix. The American Horror Story and Glee creator recently inked an eye-popping $300 million deal with the streaming service.

That’s a five-year agreement, and it begins on July 1, 2018. Under his production company, Ryan Murphy Productions, he’ll be making new shows exclusively for Netflix. His relationship with Fox, where he has worked since 2003, has effectively come to an end, though he’ll still remain attached to ongoing shows like American Horror Story.

So far, we know of two Murphy shows that are headed to Netflix: Ratched, a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest prequel, and The Politician, which will star Barbra Streisand and Gwyneth Paltrow. However, there will be much more to come, and anything Murphy makes after July 2018 will be a Netflix original.

Next: This creator signing with Netflix was also a major get for them and a huge loss for a TV network.

2. Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes smiles while posing on the red carpet in a black dress.

Shonda Rhimes | Leon Bennett/Getty Images

The Murphy deal comes just six months after another massive get for Netflix: Shonda Rhimes. The creator of some of ABC’s biggest shows, including Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, has been working for that network for years, but Netflix has now lured her away.

From now on, new Rhimes shows will be Netflix exclusives. She’ll remain involved in her current shows on ABC, though. She’ll also remain involved in two shows that she already had in the works at ABC: Station 19 and For the People.

Next: The creator of a Showtime show has already made several series for Netflix, and she recently inked an overall deal.

3. Jenji Kohan

Jenji Kohan speaking on stage while wearing a black dress.

Jenji Kohan | Kimberly White/Getty Images

Jenji Kohan was actually one of the first creators to move to streaming. She was previously the creator of Showtime’s Weeds, but she jumped to Netflix to create Orange is the New Black in 2013. That wasn’t all, though. Kohan also produces GLOW for Netflix, which has been a hit thus far and has received a second season order.

Kohan recently signed a multi-year overall deal with Netflix, so she’s here to stay on the streaming service, and she will continue developing shows for them into the future.

Next: This showrunner used to work for Fox, but he’s now exclusive to Netflix.

4. Mitch Hurwitz

Mitch Hurwitz smiling on chair while sitting on stage.

Mitch Hurwitz | Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

Mitch Hurwitz worked in network television for years, especially for Fox. That’s the channel that aired his show, Arrested Development. But he also created Sit Down, Shut Up and Running Wilde for Fox as well.

But these days, Hurwitz is exclusive to Netflix. He signed a multiyear deal with them in 2014 following the streaming service’s revival of Arrested Development. Now, Netflix is not only home to Arrested Development, but also the Hurwitz-produced Flaked and Lady Dynamite, the latter of which he also co-created.

Next: The creator of the most successful animated show ever made is heading to Netflix, too.

5. Matt Groening

Matt Groening at Comic-Con.

Matt Groening | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Matt Groening is the creator of two of the greatest cartoons of all time: The Simpsons and Futurama. He has had an ongoing relationship with Fox for decades, although Futurama had a run on Comedy Central after Fox canceled it.

Groening is currently working on his new animated series, Disenchantment, which promises to do for the medieval fantasy genre what Futurama did for sci-fi. But instead of creating it for Fox, Groening is heading to Netflix.

Groening hasn’t signed any sort of overall deal with the streaming service. But this move was still a major blow to Fox, which will be missing out on the latest project from the man behind the most critically acclaimed and beloved animated show ever.

Next: The creator of a major sitcom made her new show for Netflix, not a network.

6. Marta Kauffman

Marta Kauffman speaking and sitting with a microphone in her hand.

Marta Kauffman | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for SCAD aTVfest 2018

Marta Kauffman is the co-creator of Friends, which originally aired on NBC. Kauffman also produced Veronica’s Closet and Jesse for the network. So when Kauffman was ready to create a new show, you might expect her to return to NBC. But instead, she ended up going to Netflix for Grace and Frankie.

Kauffman told The Hollywood Reporter that she didn’t think a traditional network would have been willing to put this story of aging women on the air; creative freedom is a big reason a lot of these showrunners end up at Netflix.

Next: The creator of NBC’s other major sitcom also went to Netflix.

7. Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld speaking and holding his hands out.

Jerry Seinfeld | Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Alongside Friends, NBC’s other massively successful 1990s sitcom was Seinfeld, which the comedian co-created. Years after the show ended, Seinfeld maintained his relationship with NBC, producing The Marriage Ref.

But now, Seinfeld is a Netflix man. According to Business Insider, Seinfeld signed a $100 million deal with the streaming service in 2017. This deal was for the rights to his new stand-up specials, as well as for his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

That show had previously aired on another streaming service, Crackle, and it wouldn’t have really fit on network TV. Still, the fact that someone like Seinfeld is now Netflix’s is significant.

Next: This man created some of CBS’ biggest shows, but in 2017, he made one for Netflix.

8. Chuck Lorre

Chuck Lorre speaking while wearing a black suit.

Chuck Lorre | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Speaking of creators of hugely successful sitcoms, there’s Chuck Lorre. He created two of CBS’ biggest hits of the 21st century, The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men, in addition to other popular shows like Mike & Molly and Mom.

But Netflix got his new show in 2017, Disjointed. Lorre boarding Netflix was a big deal, although that show was not particularly successful and it did not get a second season.

Lorre hasn’t ended his relationship with CBS, however, and he is still producing shows for them like Young Sheldon. 

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