FX May Be Split Into Two Networks


Chief of Surgery
Aug 30, 2000
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Broadcasting & Cable:
Fox Doubling Down on FX in Bet on Cable Nets
Smaller sports channels may get repurposed

Fox Networks is planning to split its successful FX channel into two networks as part of a larger effort to enlarge its cable footprint.

A new network, tentatively called FXX, would target younger viewers -- millennials -- with a skew towards comedy, according to media executives who have been briefed on the plans.

The network would program some of the original comedy series that now appear on FX, such as The League and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It would also be stocked with appropriate theatrical movies from a stockpile FX has been building in deals with nearly all of the major studios over the past few years.

The plans call for a launch in September with about 75 million subscribers. Many of those subscribers would come from the Fox Soccer channel, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

After the split, FX would continue to air the edgy dramas such as Sons of Anarchy and Justified that attract young adults and baby boomers. FX Networks, headed by John Landgraf, will also continue to produce the movie channel FXM.

A Fox spokesman declined to comment on details, saying only that the company is always examining its programming options.

By giving the entertainment networks different focuses, they might avoid cannibalizing each other's viewership and competing for programming. Splitting a network portfolio along drama/comedy lines has long been done by Turner Broadcasting, with TNT, which features drama, and its "very funny" TBS. AMC Networks is following a similar strategy by having IFC focus on quirky comedies while its develops dramas for Sundance Channel.

Cable has been a major profit driver for News Corp., which is in the process of dividing itself into two public companies controlled by Rupert Murdoch. One company, the new News Corp., will mainly own the company's publishing assets. The other, Fox Group, would be in the TV and movie business, headed by Chase Carey, a big believer in the power of both cable and sports.

Fox is also in the process of creating a national sports cable network that would compete with ESPN, which commands high ratings and higher subscriber fees thanks to its licenses to carry professional football, baseball and basketball, as well as college football.

The network, expected to be called Fox Sports 1, will be built on what is now the racing driven channel Speed. There is also talk that the company's Fuel channel, now gaining muscle from its UFC programming, could become Fox Sports 2.

Of course, all of the changes are subject to agreements with distributors, which can opt to drop channels if the deviate from the way they are defined in their carriage agreements.

Executives from cable distributors such as Time Warner Cable and Dish Network have talked about dropping channels rather than adding them as the cost of programming rises. That could make achieving carriage more difficult for new networks or mean that less lucrative deals are coming down the pike.

Hmmm... it makes sense but it is also seems stupid. So FXX will probably happen.

Big gamble that could pay off for Fox as they can now get extra fees for having a desired cable channel.

Want to watch The League, Louie, Always Sunny? Then you need to subscribe to FXX. They can charge a higher carriage fee and compete with Viacom's Comedy Central and Time Warner's TBS. Anger Mangement will be pumping out 90 episodes over two years, that's a lot of original programming for a cable channel.

In the end it will likely mean more original content for FX and FXX which is good for us but cable providers may try to screw you over to get FXX.
Eh, I like FX how it is now. I watch what I like, and change the channel when it's something I don't like.
So FX has developed a stutter? They've got therapy for that kind of thing.
This seems real dumb. I hope someone comes to their senses.
They already branded half of the Fox Movie Channel's programming as "FXM" and show younger skewing movies that are on FX.

I think this is a done deal, only thing left is the channel name.

FXX, FX2 or FXC (comedy).
I get FX but I don't get the Fox Movie Channel, how about starting with giving me that first?
So which channel will end up showing the mid-day reruns?
'Philadelphia,' 'League' to move from FX to sister outlet

Does an extra X garner more $?

News Corp. is gambling that it will. The entertainment conglom confirmed Thursday that it would launch a second general entertaiment cable network as a companion to its FX network and its FXM outlet to secure a greater share of ad revenue from marketers.

As FX Networks prexy John Landgraf described the situation, the company hopes to build a “suite” of three general entertainment networks that aren’t necessarily bound together by a single programming genre and target three broad demographics – 18 to 34 via FXX, 18 to 49 via FX and 25 to 54 via FXM – while continuing to provide entertainment that is critically lauded “without falling into the all-things-to-all-people problem that plagues broadcast.”

FXX – one more X would have rendered the channel unpalatable to nearly any distributor of basic-cable networks – will launch Sept. 2 in 74 million homes, Landgraf said. The company did not disclose how it would reach so many homes with a nascent network, but there’s speculation that News Corp. will use its Fox Soccer network to create the new outlet.

FXX will skew slightly younger than FX, and as such, the company will move some comedy selections from FX – “The League” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” – to the new sibling. A weekly latenight talk show, “Totally Biased With W. Kamu Bell,” will also migrate to FXX and expand to five nights a week.

Langraf disclosed plans to add two more comedies to the new network in its first year, building to a goal of six original comedies on the cabler in its second year. FXX will also use reruns of “How I Met Your Mother,” “Arrested Development” and “Parks and Recreation” to fill its schedule.

Among the new programming options slated to air on the channels in the coming year, Landgraf said FX would launch a miniseries based on the popular 1996 movie “Fargo,” with the creative personnel behind that film, Joel and Ethan Coen, aboard as executive producers.

FX will air a fifth season of the drama “Justified” and will introduce a new drama, “The Bridge,” set among detectives on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Like hearing FXM will be producing original content and that FXX won't be focused just on comedy.

In Canada we just have FX Canada which I'm guessing will just air all of the FX/FXX/FXM content.
I don't even have the channel they'll be using for FXX. :dry:
WTF is FXX and why is Sunny now only on that channel? Fug this shib.
So it's basically copies of Ted Turner's network.

TBS = FXX ... the comedy department.

TNT = FX ... the drama club.

TCM = FXM ... movies.

EDIT: Just noticed the OP article caught it too.
True. But if what we've seen on FX is any indication, the original programming will be MUCH stronger than what's on TBS/TNT.
Bump cause this is more important than MTV's The Challenge.
The Challenge is the only important thing! :argh:
Pirates, if you don't want to pay for that new channel, get ready.

**** this business. This is just like Disney XD, except it has stuff I actually care about. :o
So it's basically copies of Ted Turner's network.

TBS = FXX ... the comedy department.

TNT = FX ... the drama club.

TCM = FXM ... movies.

Then we'll get FXY = Spike, FXXX = Porn, FYFY = SyFy, FCF = All Fox reruns all the time and whatever else they can rip off.
I've actually heard that that Fargo series is being developed at HBO
Some articles concerning FXX...

FX's Upstart Network FXX: 7 Things to Know
1:41 PM PDT 6/6/2013 by Lesley Goldberg

The younger-skewing network will have some overlap with the flagship channel as well as feature a DIY feel.

Ahead of the September launch of sibling network FXX, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf met with reporters early Thursday to introduce the key members of his team -- newly promoted trio Nick Grad, Eric Schrier and Chuck Saftler -- and to break down how the suite of channels will work under its new executive structure.

Despite new titles, the quartet stressed that it will remain business as usual. Budgets will remain as-is, as will the channels' dedication to being a friendly place for showrunners and talent.

Here are seven things to know about FXX:

1. It's all about the demo. Executives reiterated that FXX will cater to adults 18-34, with the flagship set at 18-49 and FXM 25-54. Projects will be developed the same way they traditionally have with casting, tone and test screenings determining which network a series ultimately will have a home on. "We don't have a magic formula," Grad said. "We're feeling it out as we go."

2. There will be some overlapping programming. All of the networks will "look quite different" on-air, Landgraf said, noting there would be some overlap in the programming -- notably the movies that air across all three channels. "Some movies will air on one, some on two and some on three," he said. There will also be some acquired programs that will live on one and others on two. "Generally speaking, original programming will have a home base on one channel." The newly promoted CEO noted that this doesn't mean a series couldn't air on all three or be previewed on others.

3. FXX will have a cutting-edge DIY look. "The entire on-air look is structured around the social media notion of self-documentation and the fact that that generation is a generation that has been photographing and videotaping itself, so there's a do-it-yourself quality to the way media is created by that generation." Landgraf said. "You'll see a blending of the DIY in the way that channel is branded, from the graphics to the on-air promos designed to feel very cutting-edge and organic and very much home to a really young viewer."

4. FX and FXX will program originals against each other -- but it's not a competition. Saftler noted FXX will feature Wednesday nights with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League, while FX will be wrapping freshman drama The Bridge and leading in to the launch of American Horror Story. "We believe we'll be talking to different viewers but we don't believe we'll be cannibalizing ourselves," he said.

5. Ready for bumps. The typically candid Landgraf also told reporters that he's prepared for the bumps along the road as viewers struggle to find where comedies Sunny, The League and Legit -- as well as now-daily talk show Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell -- have moved. To that end, FX is prepping FX VOD to launch in the latter part of the year with content from all three channels.

6. Anger Management tweaks. The upcoming George Lopez 10/90 comedy will be paired with Anger Management in January on FX. While the Charlie Sheen vehicle has performed well in its Monday sampling on sibling broadcast network Fox, Landgraf noted the ratings on FX were less then they'd like them to be. The series recently took a month-long hiatus to undergo some creative retooling as the writers contemplate changes and rejigger the series. "We're hopeful to see the show grow a bit more and there will be some changes," Saftler said.

7. The limited event miniseries series Fargo will likely run on FX, Landgraf told The Hollywood Reporter. "We're going to do one limited series in our next fiscal year, which will be Fargo, and we're going to do two the year after that; we haven't identified or picked those up yet, and we have a lot in development," he said. "We're debating whether to put one on FX and one on FXM or both on FXM -- or both on FX. We haven't decided yet partially, again, because we don't know what we're picking up and where we think is most appropriate distribution-wise."

FXX Execs on Launching a Network and How to Pitch: 'Don't Use the Word 'Edgy'' (Q&A)
11:00 AM PDT 8/21/2013 by Lacey Rose

Eric Schrier and Nick Grad tell THR what will happen when the younger-skewing FXX launches on Sept. 2 -- and reveal the daunting process of committing to 25 original series.

On Sept. 2, Nick Grad and Eric Schrier will add another television network to their portfolio. The pair, both presidents of programming at FX, will oversee original series at the younger-skewing FXX. The addition is part of a corporate strategy to expand the network group's output, with flagship FX and older-skewing FXM joined by FXX (aimed at the 18-to-34 demographic).

To line each of the schedules, Schrier and Grad, along with their boss, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf, have ambitious plans to feature 25 original scripted series on the air during the next few years, with six comedy pilots, two drama pilots and one limited series (the Billy Bob Thornton starrer Fargo) already in production. The company veterans -- Schrier, 37, joined FX in 1999 (as then-entertainment president Kevin Reilly's assistant); Grad, 44, in 2002 -- say they're continuing to seek bravura fare, in keeping with a current crop of FX shows that includes Louie, Sons of Anarchy and Justified. They will figure out which network it belongs on later in the development process.

The Los Angeles natives are realistic about the challenges that come with launching a new network, acknowledging it is a long-term play requiring time, patience and lowered ratings expectations. The two men, both married fathers of young children with strong family ties to the entertainment industry (Schrier's father was an agent at ICM; Grad's was a development executive at 20th Century Fox TV, his uncle is director James Burrows and his wife, Carolyn Bernstein, is executive vp scripted programming at Shine America), sat down with THR in their offices in early August.

The Hollywood Reporter: What's the biggest mistake people make when they come in to pitch?
Eric Schrier: They try to manufacture what they think we'd want, and you can smell it right away. They're like, "OK, we're going to do an edgy male show because they're the edgy male network."
Nick Grad: Good one. Don't use the word "edgy"!

THR: What's the note you give most often?
Grad: If you think of a three-act movie, we usually try to guide people toward starting at the beginning of Act 2. One thing people do a lot is try to stuff a lot of backstory into a pilot. It's a bit of a feature mentality: In a movie, if you don't lay those things in, the audience will never know it. But we're making 90-hour movies. There's plenty of time, and to me, it's delicious to drop into a world and get your bearings. People overestimate the amount people need to know in order to enjoy a pilot.

THR: What are some of the best pitches you've heard?
Schrier: The Wilfred pitch was actually really interesting because they sent over this sizzle reel of the Australian version. It's literally a guy in a dog suit, and you're like, "How are they going to do that as a show?" But David Zuckerman came in and pitched it out as Fight Club, basically, as a comedy. Nick was out the day we bought it, so the next time David came in to pitch it, I told him, "You've got to do it all over because they thought we were crazy for buying this."

THR: With the influx of competition in the originals space, there are more bidding wars for projects. How has that changed your business?
Grad: It's annoying. There was a time when the brands of HBO, Showtime, FX and AMC had less overlap. Now you've got other players in the marketplace who are very aggressive, and there's more overlap with our brands, too. You could see a show going to this place or to that place, so it's created a bit more of a feeding frenzy for certain projects.
Schrier: We're a very deliberate place. We talk and think about our decisions really thoroughly, and that stems from John. The feeding frenzy that's going on makes you have to act much more quickly with less information, and you can get caught up. Every call now is, "HBO already likes it," or, "Someone's already put a bid on it." We're like, "OK, let me read the script first!"

THR: You're about to launch FXX. Walk us through the decision to differentiate the networks by demo, rather than genre or something else.
Grad: In the last couple of years there's been a mandate to do more original content, and we were at maximum capacity at FX. We didn't want to split the brand and say, "This is comedy, and this is drama," the way some other places do. We really believe there's value in our brand, and we've curated it for a long time. So the question became, how do we expand without diluting that brand? Trying to move things around demographically seemed like the best way -- there's a lot of overlap, and it still all falls under this umbrella of trying to do things that are smart, have a point of view and that are populist.

THR: What show on a rival network would be an ideal fit for FX and FXX?
Schrier: For FX, Breaking Bad. For us, that's the one that got away.
Grad: We'd love to have Game of Thrones on FX, too. For FXX, my answer would be The Daily Show. I love Totally Biased [With W. Kamau Bell], but I still think Daily Show is the gold standard of where funny meets smart.

THR: You're asking people to find a new channel on an already crowded dial. I imagine you'll have to adjust your ratings expectations. How will you assess success and failure?
Schrier: I don't think we know yet. There are a lot of things that go into how we evaluate our shows, outside of just ratings, and we're very clear that they're not going to perform how they perform on FX. It's a long-term play.

THR: Like many other networks, you're pushing into the limited-series business, beginning with Fargo. Why?
Schrier: There are a number of reasons why we got into it, but from a creative standpoint, we hear pitches for 90-hour movies -- long character journeys. There were a lot of pitches that came in that were really good but didn't make sense for that format; they were much better as six-, eight-, 10-part stories. We also found that there were a lot of people who were really talented who didn't want to sign on to do seven years of a television show but had stories that they couldn't tell in the independent-film world or the feature-film world, where there was a lack of quality adult movies.
Grad: I think some shows probably stay on the air too long because they think they are fitting into a business model. We're trying to find out what the right format is for the idea.

THR: You've said you're interested in building out your late-night programming. Who would be the dream addition to your late-night lineup?
Grad: I'll tell you, I think the two best interviewers in the business right now are Howard Stern and Marc Maron. I spend a lot of my time in my car listening either to Howard or to Maron's WTF podcast. Who knows if it would translate because I think part of what allows them to have such great interviews is the length. [In late-night], there's not enough time [for guests] to let their guard down.

THR: You've pushed hard to own programming. How has that affected your relationships with other studios, and have you lost projects as a result?
Schrier: We don't make decisions about what's the right show to put on the air based on our ownership stake. But I do think having ownership helps us make the shows more successful. It makes us much more involved, not only creatively but from a business standpoint. Because there are multiple revenue streams coming in, we're able to keep a show like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on the air longer than we would if we were just a network. It took three years for Sunny to really take off. Sons of Anarchy is another one: It's grown every year it's been on, and it still sells tremendously well on DVD. We run spots for the DVD every week on the show. We started a licensing and merchandising business on that show; we're talking to [creator] Kurt Sutter about doing a video game.

THR: As the landscape becomes more competitive, will you look to secure more talent through overall or first-look deals?
Grad: We're still mostly a network. The studio is really important, but we don't have the desire to compete with major studios that can service all these deals.
Schrier: We don't have the aspirations to be a studio that sells to other networks. We're focused on putting on great shows on the FX networks, and if [Fox] has a limited series that they want us to help them with, we will. But we're not looking to go pitch something to CBS or NBC.

THR: What was your big break?
Grad: When I was in high school, I was a P.A. on Cheers [which Burrows co-created], then I had an internship on the first season of L.A. Law. But my first real job was at Fox Broadcasting; my unofficial title was tape *****.
Schrier: My grandfather was the secretary of MCA and my father was an agent, so I grew up around it. My dad used to take me to tapings, and when the fall season came out he'd want me to watch all the shows with him and tell him what I thought. My first job out of college [at USC] was at CAA. I was a floater in the mornings, which is basically a temp, and then I was a second assistant to Josh Lieberman in the afternoons. I remember he had signed Colin Farrell, who was an unknown at the time, and he was like: "Eric, Colin's coming out here. Call the casting directors and set up meetings." And then he's like, "He doesn't know how to get around, so find one of your friends and have one of them drive him around." I found one of my friends from high school to drive him around. He ended up having a lot of fun with Colin Farrell for a number of weeks. It was a great experience, and now all of these agents whose phones I answered at one point come in and pitch me shows.
TV Ratings: 'Always Sunny,' 'The League' Lose Little Audience in FXX Move
2:24 PM PDT 9/5/2013 by Michael O'Connell

UPDATED: During its third day on the air, the new cable network kicks off seasons of two imported FX comedy staples, alongside talker "Totally Bias," holding reasonably steady in the targeted demographics and seeing growth among young men.

After a strong network launch on Monday that easily eclipsed previous ratings performances from former channel holder Fox Soccer, FXX delivered its first night of original programming on Wednesday.

The comedy-centric cable outlet debuted new seasons of FX imports It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League and talker Totally Bias With W. Kamau Bell. And while the late-night offering did see sharper dips, the scripted efforts were largely in line with last season's hauls in the targeted demographics.

Always Sunny, kicking off its ninth season, anchored the block at 10 p.m. The comedy averaged 757,000 viewers in its first airing on the new network. It also averaged a 648,000 adults 18-49 and a 575,000 adults 18-34, retention of 80 and 85 percent from last season's opener. Also down from last fall's 1-million-strong premiere, it's losses were small considering the move -- and it actually grew 8 percent in men 18-34 to 396,000.

FXX currently airs in 72 million homes, down a 26 million homes from FX, which accounts for much of the initial audience dip. It's also a credit to Sunny that this is the first time it has had to go head-to-head with A&E juggernaut and cable's current demo all-star Duck Dynasty.

"There are a lot of things that go into how we evaluate our shows, outside of just ratings, and we're very clear that they're not going to perform how they perform on FX," programming president Eric Schrier recently told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview with counterpart Nick Grad. "It's a long-term play."

The League started its fifth season with 786,000 viewers at 10:30 p.m.. It grew from Sunny's haul, and was within even closer reach of the key adult demos from last year's premieres. It held 94 percent of its showing among adults 18-49 (687,000) and 92 percent of adults 18-34 (537,000).

“The numbers last night on FXX for Sunny and The League far exceeded our highest expectations,” said FX Networks and FX Productions CEO John Landgraf. “To have just launched the channel three days ago and get these ratings is thrilling. The delivery of these shows needs no qualification, they are proven appointment viewing for young adult audiences. Thanks to the fans and congratulations to Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day and everyone involved with Sunny, and to Jeff and Jackie Schaffer and everyone on The League.”

W. Kamau Bell is in a slightly different position with Totally Bias. The young talk show, part of FX's move into late night last year, kicks off its FXX run as a nightly program. The episode brought in 90,000 adults 18-34 and 137,000 adults 18-49, holding a respective 59 and 49 percent from its last weekly cycle. (The show was up an astronomical 2,900 percent in adults 18-34 and 1,857 percent in adults 18-49 from last September's comparatively minor time slot showing for Fox Soccer.)

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