When the Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica hired Desperate Housewives veteran Kevin Murphy as a producer last month, we hoped for the best. But now Murphy is reportedly replacing BSG's Jane Espenson as Caprica's showrunner. Update: Espenson explains the switch.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Murphy has taken over as showrunner, but Espenson is staying on as an executive producer, alongside Ronald D. Moore and David Eick. THR notes that Murphy was originally hired back in October as a co-executive producer, to work on scripts in the second half of the show's first season. But now he's the head honcho. (Variety's story is a bit vaguer on the matter, for what it's worth.)
Update: Espenson tells io9:
I'm still at Caprica. Running the room was very intensive and took a lot of time away from actually writing this amazing ambitious show. I missed the writing more than I expected and this was my decision to concentrate on that as we put together the big end of season one. Kevin is extremely smart and talented and brings fresh eyes and fresh energy to the project — we're so lucky to have him!
So let's hope that's all there is to it. Syfy has continuously denied rumors that Caprica was having creative difficulties — if anything, the show was racing forward too fast, and any halt in the show's production was purely due to the upcoming Vancouver Olympics.
A month or so ago, Vancouver-based site CinemaSpy quoted Syfy's Mark Stern as telling a Vancouver press tour that the main reason for Caprica's delays was indeed problems with the show's scripts, and the Olympics were merely a complicating factor in a creative decision to take a break:
Trying to find [the] journey with these characters has been really interesting. I know for the writers - in terms of where you think you're going to go - turns out to be, not exactly where you ... there are things that have been pitched out ... this, episode 8, we're going to do this, and it's going to be a whole torture sequence on this other planet, and it's like 'no, actually that doesn't work in terms of where the stories have taken us'. And we actually took a break. We shut down for a few weeks so that we could, at the mid-point ... so that we could regroup and say, 'OK, what have we learned from the first ten; where do we want to go from here?'
If it wasn't for the Olympics, there wouldn't even be a discussion, but unfortunately, because of the Olympics, we've been really up against when we really have to be out of production. So what would normally be a very easy decision in terms of 'let's take a hiatus and take a break and write more scripts', became a very difficult and expensive proposition... but we did it anyway because it was worth it.
Variety quotes Murphy bursting with excitement to be coming on board Caprica:
As a rabid 'Battlestar Galactica' fan, it's hard not to go in that writers room and not just grin ridiculously. These are the people who made the best TV show ever. To be able to be a part of the legacy of that show, I'd be willing to pay them for that.
To be fair, the Desperate Housewives thing is the first thing people usually mention about Murphy in articles, but he also worked on Reaper. And he's co-creating a musical based on Heathers, which could be a good sign. Fingers crossed, anyway.