Ryan Murphy knows what works — or, rather who works — on American Crime Story. According to Deadline, Sarah Paulson is now set to star in Katrina, the third season of FX's buzzy anthology series.
Paulson is, obviously, no stranger to Murphy's television universe: in addition to appearing on every season of American Horror Story, she nabbed an Emmy for her role of prosecutor Marcia Clark on season 1 of American Crime Story, titled People v. O.J. Simpson. Her role on Katrina, however, is a big surprise, considering she wasn't originally the show's star. (She was, however, included in the cast.) Paulson's character switch makes a lot of sense considering the creative pivot the show is now taking — and it definitely sounds like the show is moving in an interesting direction.
According to Deadline, the upcoming ACS season — which was originally slated to premiere before season 2's The Assassination of Gianni Versace, but has since pushed back — will now be a take on the book Five Days At Memorial by Sheri Fink.
The non-fiction book examines the divisive decisions doctors had to make at New Orleans’ Memorial Medical Center after the hospital lost power following hurricane Katrina. The show — which in its new version will shift away from a political focus, which included casting Dennis Quaid as President George W. Bush — focuses on Dr. Anna Pou (Paulson), a doctor at who was forced to euthanize critically ill patients after the hospital had been without power for days.
FX CEO John Landgraf insisted the changes will give fans a better season, even though it wasn't easy to make the jump:
"I'm confident that it will air. I'm really, really excited. It was a big creative pivot we made. It was a difficult decision…the bar is really high for this franchise and we just weren't confident that we were able to hit it," Landgraf revealed that the Television Critics Association summer press tour."
With Emmy-winning Paulson leading the pack and a story about one of the most tragic events in American history as its subject, it sounds like Katrina could live up to the bar set by the critically-adored People vs. O.J. Simpson.