FX will telecast the original Toughman boxing competition
on Fridays beginning in midsummer.
The deal marks the first basic-cable appearance for the
Toughman series, which pits ordinary men in boxing competitions around the country
fighting for the national Toughman championship.
FX will carry 22 to 26 episodes, which will include
regional competitions and championship-round coverage, FX president Peter Liguori said.
The network, which has nearly 40 million subscribers, is
hoping the series will help it to reach its elusive target audience of 18- to 35-year-old
men who are often turned off by the overhyped state of today's sports performers.
Liguori believes Toughman -- which features everyday people
performing in a nonscripted sports event -- will appeal to that audience.
"It's tough to address that often cynical,
media-savvy audience that's tired of overhyped athletes," Liguori said.
"But Toughman is a very honest, easy-to-understand and not overhyped competition that
has appeal. It's just tough guys fighting for little more than bragging rights."
The network hopes the series will perform as well as or
better than its initial boxing show last June, which generated a 0.6 rating.
While FX will carry most of the Toughman shows, Liguori did
not rule out the possibility of some pay-per-view coverage, as well. Showtime Event
Television distributed the Toughman finals via PPV in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
"There's always a possibility that we will
consider PPV," Liguori added.