New York -- For FX, it’s going to be year-round original series.
Connecting its aggressive summer schedule with new seasons of returning shows, FX officials expect to offer original-series fare each of the next 52 weeks. The game plan calls for the completion of The Shield’s fifth season (five episodes remain through June 14), followed by the sophomore campaign of RescueMe.
June 15 will also mark the debut of the six-installment documentary skein 30 Days from Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), in which people from different walks of life step into each other’s reality for a month.
On July 22, FX will fire up Over There, the first scripted TV show to deal with a current war. FX has ordered 13 installments of the ensemble show from Steven Bochco and Chris Gerolmo, which follows a U.S. Army unit on its first tour of duty, both in Iraq and back at home.
Come August, FX will take another shot at comedy (its last entrant, gambling show Lucky, crapped out) with Starved, about four Brooklyn friends who battle eating disorders; and It’s Always Funny in Philadelphia, centering on four friends who own and operate a bar in the City of Brotherly Love.
FX has ordered seven episodes of each. The third season of Golden Globe award winning plastic-surgeon drama Nip/Tuck will bow in September and carry through into January 2006, when Thief launches. FX’s year-round schedule then calls for the fifth season of The Shield and presumably the third season of RescueMe.
The strategy was outlined at a press presentation and screening here hosted by newly named FX Networks president and general manager John Landgraf and president of advertising sales Bruce Lefkowitz. The 52-week plan should help FX in the upfront season.
“People used to say we were a one-trick pony (with The Shield) or a three-trick pony (Nip/Tuck and Rescue Me). Now we have a much broader portfolio,” said Lefkowitz. He noted that FX had inked its first upfront deal, securing a single sponsor for Nip/Tuck’s third season premiere.
The undisclosed advertiser will air content within the show’s 18-minute commercial load, according to Lefkowitz. He hopes to complete upfront negotiations with that client shortly and then move on to laying in base deals with its agency.
Lefkowitz is confident that FX will complete a pair of agency-wide upfront deals sometime next week, matching the network’s pace from a year ago.
FX has also reached agreements with a half-dozen companies for Over There in the third-quarter scatter market.
Lefkowitz adds that his team in conversations with an apparel company and an auto marketer to single-sponsor the first episode of Over There.