6 Other Famous Feuds That Deserve The Ryan Murphy Treatment

Beyond Bette and Joan

This Sunday, FX will premiere the latest anthology series in Ryan Murphy’s growing portfolio of anthology series with Feud: Bette and Joan. The show tells the story of the notorious rivalry between Hollywood divas Bette Davis and Joan Crawford who, in the twilight of their careers, tried to put their many differences aside in order to make the cult classic horror movie Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? FX is so confident in the series—and they should be, it’s terrific—that they’ve already ordered a second season which will shift Murphy’s focus from the backlots of Old Hollywood to the insular world of Buckingham Palace, as he puts his signature spin on the very messy courtship and subsequent divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Because we know that FX won't just stop at two seasons, we've compiled a list of other famous feuds throughout history that Ryan Murphy could adapt. Just don't forget to give us credit. 

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Jay Leno vs. Conan O’Brien

HBO has already dramatized the infamous battle between Jay Leno and David Letterman for the hosting job of The Tonight Show in their 1996 movie The Late Shift. But what happened between Leno and Conan O’Brien back in 2010 might be even more dramatic. To recap: Conan O’Brian took over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno, who then launched The Jay Leno show as a lead in. When both shows failed to attract a wide audience, the top brass at NBC panicked, and gave The Tonight Show back to Jay Leno, while poor Conan, who thought he had landed his dream gig, was forced to leave the network and was eventually exiled to TBS island. New York Times media reporter Bill Carter documented the fiasco in his supremely entertaining book The War For Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy—perfect source material for Ryan Murphy to adapt.

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Jay Z vs. Nas

The feud between the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur has been fodder for books, a documentary, and an upcoming movie starring Johnny Depp. Its tragic conclusion, which led to the deaths of both rappers, has kept it an object of fascination. But a ruthless rap beef with a happier ending was the one between Jay Z and Nas, who traded vicious diss tracks in the late ‘90s and into the early 2000s. It would be fascinating to see Ryan Murphy’s take on the macho hip-hop world, and even more fascinating to witness the behind-the-scenes machinations that led Jay Z to invite Nas to perform with him onstage in 2005, officially squashing the second most infamous beef in rap history.

Photo by Ted West

Elizabeth Taylor vs. Richard Burton

Based on what we’ve seen of Feud, Ryan Murphy is firmly in his element amidst the glamour, melodrama, and camp of old Hollywood, so telling the story of stormy love affair between Burton and Taylor feels like a no-brainer. The Brangelina of their day (the media dubbed them “Liz and Dick”) the two actors met, fell in love, and had a scandalous affair on the set of Cleopatra. They eventually made 11 movies together, were married and divorced twice (their second marriage lasted less than a year), and lived a life together that was fueled by fame, money, alcohol, scandal, and a ravenous media. It practically writes itself.  

Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto

Liam Gallagher vs. Noel Gallagher

The biggest band of the ‘90s was led by two brothers from working class England who truly couldn’t stand each other. Last year’s documentary Supersonic told the story of the rise of Oasis in the early ‘90s and the booze-soaked rivalry between Liam and Noel that eventually led to the band’s demise. We’d love to see Ryan Murphy tackle the world of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, something he surprisingly has yet to do. Last year, Pitchfork published a timeline of the Gallagher brothers’ very public beef, which more often that not played out in the press. Check it out, Ryan Murphy!  

Photos via Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Al Capone vs. Bugs Moran

Yet another milieu that Ryan Murphy needs to get in on is the gangster world. It would be like Boardwalk Empire meets American Horror Story. And while admittedly a story about mobsters might fit better under Murphy’s American Crime Story franchise, if he wanted to make it under the Feud banner, he could focus on the battle for supremacy between Al Capone and Bugs Moran, two titans of crime who, in the 1920s, at the height of prohibition, made Chicago one of America’s deadliest cities through their relentless gang warfare. Capone, of course, ruled the city’s underworld, and Moran posed his own real threat. Their rivalry culminated in the infamous Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, which has yet to be given the definitive screen treatment. 

Photos via Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Elizabeth I, Queen of England vs. Mary, Queen of Scots

The British monarchy is all the rage these days, as proven by Netflix’s The Crown, and Murphy’s coming dramatization of Charles and Diana’s relationship. But we’d love to see Murphy dial it back to 1558, when Elizabeth I ascended to the throne after being acknowledge as Henry VIII’s proper heir. However, this didn’t sit well with many, who viewed Mary Stuart, queen of Scotland, as the rightful heir to the throne. What followed was two queens duking it out for supremacy over the British Empire, a battle the last nearly three decades, and ended with Mary’s beheading at the order of Elizabeth.