Emmy Magnet ‘American Crime Story’ Plots Katrina Series

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Brad Simpson, an executive producer of The People v. O.J. Simpson, told B&C he was “overwhelmed” by the awards nominations claimed by the FX limited series. The People bagged 22 Emmy nods, one behind Game of Thrones. “I think we were surprised by the depth of the nominations,” says Simpson, noting how The People’s directors, editors and writers are all in the running. “I was prepared to make the phone calls—sorry, you missed out. But people really responded to the show.”

And as flooding has once again ravaged Louisiana this month, the American Crime Story writers room was working on scripts for a Hurricane Katrina-focused next installment. As with People v. O.J., the producers will gather a bunch of scripts before shooting, as opposed to shooting as they trickle in. Production starts next year.

Simpson says not to expect a courtroom setting for the Katrina project, or the ACS series after it. “We’re tackling things that are a real before-and-after, that turn a lens on America,” he says. “There were acts of great heroism and acts of cowardice and murder and death [after Katrina]. The big crime was that people knew this was going to happen, and we weren’t prepared to respond.”

Simpson adds, “We want to define crime broadly.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.