Solidifying his place as one of the most candid executives working in TV, FX Networks President-GM John Landgraf spoke to critics Saturday morning about why he embraces failures - and is secure enough to talk about them -- during his network's TCA press tour executive session.
"You'd think I'd be discouraged" after disappointing ratings for the two most recent original series launches -- the failure of Terriers "from a commercial standpoint and the weak debut of Lights Out," Landgraf told the press. "But you can hear from the tone of my voice, I'm not."
He says in the face of failure, you've "gotta jump higher, gotta jump further" and tells his team "let's go to it."
All of the last six originals to premiere on the network - Archer, Justified, The League, Lights Out, Louie and Terriers - enjoyed critical acclaim and four also enjoyed solid ratings. Terriers' poor ratings didn't earn it a renewal and last week's Lights Out premiere ratings (1.5 million viewers) also disappointed.
Landgraf said the vastly crowded, competitive landscape for both shows was the biggest factor in both shows' ratings performances. He pointed to other premieres the same night as Lights Out's debut Tuesday at 10 p.m.: The Game drew a historic 7.7 million viewers on BET, Tosh.O on Comedy Central drew a large, young, male audience and MTV's premiere of Teen Mom 2 drew large, young, female audiences.
Due to the sophisticated content typical of the FX brand, the network slates its originals only in the 10 p.m. slot. When asked whether he would consider moving an established show to 9 p.m. to help serve as a launch companion to new series, he pointed to Justified as the likeliest candidate. If ratings grow in its second season, which kicks off Feb. 9, Landgraf said he'd consider moving it.