Ryan Murphy’s Law (or at least an awards pattern)

Ryan Murphy has a bright Emmys ahead.
(Illustration by Michael Dunbabin)
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Ryan Murphy’s hugely popular limited series “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” seems poised to draw several Emmy nominations. It also seems likely to win a few, given voters’ appreciation for early (or only) seasons of Murphy-led series, which tend to decline as they go along. Loyalty and respect for seasoned actors also factor into the Murphy universe’s Emmys picture.


Murphy’s visual audacity lands him his first nomination, for directing his then-new FX series “Nip/Tuck.” It’s his only nomination over six seasons.


Murphy wins his first directing Emmy, and veteran performer Jane Lynch her first acting Emmy, for the premiere season of Fox’s “Glee.” No subsequent “Glee” season matches that Emmy high.



Murphy’s five additional (directing and/or producing) Emmys come from the movie “The Normal Heart,” the first two “American Crime Story” seasons (“The People v. O.J. Simpson,” “The Assassination of Gianni Versace”) and a “People v. O.J. Simpson” featurette.

Our BuzzMeter panel of veteran TV journalists predicts the winners in 14 categories of the 2023(?) Emmys. You can, too, in our weekly polls.

Aug. 24, 2023


Murphy’s “American Horror Story” anthology premieres, cementing his reputation as a champion of veteran talents. Jessica Lange will win two Emmys and Kathy Bates one. Although Angela Bassett does not win from her two “AHS” nominations …


... She stars in Murphy’s current Fox (now ABC) procedural drama.

2016, 2018

Sarah Paulson and Darren Criss, standouts on “AHS” and “Glee,” respectively, win lead Emmys not for those shows but subsequent Murphy projects, “Simpson” and “Versace.” This precedent favors …


... “Dahmer” lead and “AHS” vet Evan Peters for a lead Emmy. (He already won in supporting for HBO’s non-Murphy drama “Mare of Easttown.”). But …


... Niecy Nash-Betts, who 1) is a beloved industry vet previously nominated for three acting Emmys (HBO’s “Getting On” and “When They See Us”), 2) worked on Murphy’s Fox series “Scream Queens,” and 3) gave “Dahmer’s” best performance as the killer’s neighbor, is the sure-bet nominee (in supporting).