Emmys 2014: Ryan Murphy on 'Horror Story,' 'Normal Heart' nominations

Emmys 2014: Ryan Murphy says anthology series are the future of TV

Ryan Murphy is seeing double digits.

Projects from the popular TV producer had quite the showing when nominations were announced Thursday for the 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

"It's an exciting day, to say the least," Murphy said Thursday by phone.

"American Horror Story: Coven," the third installment in the FX anthology series from Murphy and Brad Falchuk, received a mighty 17 nominations -- making it the third-most nominated series this year. Murphy thinks that tally, coupled with the showings of 'True Detective" and "Fargo," is signaling a shift in storytelling toward closed-ended, chapter-type seasons.

"I think particularly this year, really — between "Horror Story" and "Fargo" and how well "True Detective" did — I think it really is about the rise of anthological television shows," he said. "I think that people like that format. I think people like a beginning, middle and end. I think it’s a fun way to watch.  With binge-viewing really taking off in our society, I think it’s the perfect sort of storytelling for the culture we live in now. We see that reflected on all those nominations, people like it. And I think we'll be seeing more of it."

The third season of "American Horror Story" set its focus on a coven of witches and featured a female-heavy cast with the likes of Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson (to name a few).

Among its nominations are acting nods for Paulson and Lange, and a nod for the horror drama in the miniseries category -- this year miniseries contenders were separated from the television movie nominees.

A move that keeps Murphy from a "Sophie's Choice"-type scenario given that "The Normal Heart," a passion project of Murphy's that was years in the making, is nominated in the television movie category. It's just one of 16 nominations -- many for its star roster including Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts -- picked up by the HBO telepic adaptation of Larry Kramer's play.

"I'm just so excited for Larry," he said. "It was a labor of love. I fought for it. I really worked hard to get people to see it, for so long. I would just hope that any recognition you get just gets more people to watch the story and to learn about that dark chapter in our history."

"The Normal Heart," about the early years of the AIDS crisis, premiered over Memorial Day weekend to about 1 million viewers, down from the 2.39 million "Behind the Candelabra" attracted the previous year over Memorial Day weekend.

"The thing that I think is happening to television now is what we saw happen with 'The Normal Heart,'" Murphy said. "A million people watch it when it premiered that night. But since that time, over 6 million people have watched. It will continue to grow. And I think a lot of people will continue to watch it over the summer. I think that's one of those movies where you have to prepare yourself for: get in a quiet place and emotionally prepare yourself. It's a tough story to watch, but definitely rewarding. I hope people continue to find it the way his play continues to find people."

Twitter: @villarrealy

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