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John Singleton on Disney-Fox Deal: ‘You Gotta Let FX Be What It Is’

If there’s any worry that the Disney-Fox deal may sanitize the often-gritty dramas that make up the Fox-owned FX Networks, it’s not coming from producers of “Snowfall.”

“I would hope Disney understands what they have in FX and they get continue to do the great work they’ve been doing,” executive producer and writer Dave Andron told Variety at the second season premiere of the drama Monday.

Andron noted that FX’s brand is unique on its own, and he doesn’t think about the acquisition very much because of that. In fact, if anything, he thinks that because FX is different than the other properties involved, it’s an asset.

“When you acquire FX, part of what you acquire is John Langraff and his sensibility and everyone he’s curated to work with him,” he said. “I think Disney needs some edge.”

Executive producer John Singleton echoed Andron’s statement but took it a step farther to add that the deal could end up being positive for the network overall.

“FX is the crown jewel of the Fox company, and I think Disney realizes that. You gotta let FX be what it is, you can’t change it,” Singleton said.

In recent years, some of FX’s most popular and successful shows have featured diverse and inclusive casts and writing rooms: Look no farther than the runaway successes of Ryan Murphy’s “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” and now “Pose,” and Donald Glover’s “Atlanta.” “Snowfall” is among them, set in South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s during the beginning of the crack epidemic, focusing on the life of young drug kingpin Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), drug-smuggling CIA agent Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson) and ambitious narcos couple Lucia Villanueva and Gustavo Zapata (Emily Rios and Sergio Peris-Mecheta).

Damson said this approach to inclusive storytelling is not only important but is proven to be driving the network.

“It’s great to be fearless and daring, and it’s great to show audiences things they haven’t seen before,” Damson said. “I feel that [FX is] one of, if not the only, prestigious network out there with regards to authenticity and how they show their worlds.”

Series star Michael Hyatt added that diversity in the writers’ room helps bring minority perspectives to the show that allows the writers to create a more authentic portrayal of the different communities they’re trying to portray.

“We are fully represented by the community we are talking about. I think that in and of itself is a unique experience. The people that are writing are the people who understand what is going on,” she said. “Whether you are from the Latino community or the African community, you see yourself.”

Season 2’s newest arrival DeRay Davis said the show is authentic to his own experiences growing up around drugs and gang violence in Chicago. And Singleton pointed out the authenticity also stems from adapting the stories told by other people who witnessed and lived through the crack epidemic. He stressed the importance of oral storytelling as research in writing “Snowfall’s” stories.

“We aren’t just researching — we’re not reading’; we’re hearing it from the people who were there and lived it,” Singleton said.

Snowfall Season 2 premieres on FX on July 19.

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