FX Performance/Schedule Analysis - June 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of July 21, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:

DAMAGES (DRAMA)
Serialized drama/thriller follows a powerful litigator (Glenn Close) and her protege.
Status: Second season ended on April 1. Two more seasons have been ordered. Produced by Sony Pictures Television / No Hands Productions.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
(SITCOM)
This dark comedy follows four friends who struggle between their desire to help each other and their compulsion towards looking out for their own best interests.
Status: Season 5 premierie September 17. Produced by 3 Arts Entertainment / FX Networks, LLC

NIP/TUCK
(DRAMA)
Hotshot plastic surgeons confront career, family and romance problems.
Status: Season 5 ended in March. Renewed for 2010.  Produced by Warner Bros. Television, Shephard Robin, O Entertainment

RESCUE ME (DRAMA)
Denis Leary stars in and produces this original drama series about a firefighter struggling to hold his two worlds together: his brothers at the station and his troubled family life.
Status: Season 5 premiered March 10. 22 x 60. Finale is September 1. Season 6 already ordered.  Produced by Sony Pictures Television / Dreamworks SKG / Apostle Pictures

SONS OF ANARCHY
(DRAMA)
A multi-generational family drama centers on a young man involved in a motorcycle club trying to face his newfound responsibilities of becoming a father. 
Status: Season 2 slated to premiere September 8.  Produced by Fox 21, FX Networks LLC, Linson Films


JUNE 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

RESCUE ME


SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Movies represent nearly 100% of the primetime fare, Originals tend to run mid-week, when they are running - Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, and always at 10PM for contnent rasons., Bigger movie titles are usually scheduled as lead-ins.

FX was never a network to run multiple encores of its series, a la BRAVO, and it has stopped running encores on Sunday nights, so each program now gets just one primetime run. However, movie titles tend to run multiple times throughout the month.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

SONS OF ANARCHY: September 8
IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA:  September 17


RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:
June 2009 vs. June 2008  (% Change)

HH          M18-49    W18-49

Monday 8-11pm                15%          31%          15%
Tuesday 8-11pm              5%             17%           -4%
Wednesday 8-11pm         -1%           -24%          41%
Thursday 8-11pm              10%          33%            4%
Friday 8-11pm                 27%            48%          11%
Saturday 8-11pm             -16%           20%         -21%
Sunday 8-11pm               -14%           -10%        -27%
MTWTFSS 8-11pm         3%              13%           -2%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

FX slipped slightly vs. its strong May (and April), down just 8% on men 18-49 and up 2% on women 18-49. Compared to last year, the Monday - Sunday average is up 13% for men and down 2% for women.

The story on FX continues to be the domination of movies. RESCUE ME hangs as the lone original program on the air, amidst a slew of blockbuster theatricals.

In a recent interview published in Broadcasting & Cable, FX President John Landgraf spoke of the net's shift away from drama series and toward big theatrical movies. "Building a war chest of theatrical movies is at minimum a decade-long process. Viewers are now developing "muscle memory" for the fact that FX is a place to go for movies", he says: "It's taken years and hundreds of millions of dollars and steadfast buying. You buy LAW & ORDER, put it on the air and-boom! -you're a genius. But this is a slow, incremental process."

Has the FX audience indeed developed muscle memory for flipping the remote to FX when they are seeking an edgy box-office hit? The Nielsen numbers certainly seem to indicate they have. Audiences have been climbing without the benefit of many dramas on the air to help. (More on that to follow).

However, it might be more a matter of a handful of classic movies consistently spiking the numbers than viewers subconsciously turning to FX. Night at the Museum 1 continued at the top of the ratings heap again this month, with three more runs making the top five rated telecasts. The other top performing titles have all had multiple runs on the network - XXX, White Chicks, The Devil Wears Prada and FX fave, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. We have to ask, HAS MR & MRS SMITH BECOME FX/S LAW & ORDER? 

RESCUE ME's July ratings fell again vs. last month. To see how it is doing vs. its previous season, we had to go back two years to June 2007. But no matter how you look at it, ratings are not holding up.

% Difference            HH Rtg    M18-49 Rtg    W18-49 Rtg
RESCUE ME June '09 vs. June '07:    -41%           -58%              -49%
RESCUE ME June '09 vs. May '09:       -8%             -7%                -4%

Looking back to 2007 highlights how far FX has swung towards movies and away from drama. In 2007 FX was running THE SHIELD, RICHES, RESCUE ME plus encores of RESCUE ME each week. This June RESCUE ME stands alone.

August will bring more of the same to the network, but in September new programs will begin to roll out. And after months of silence, John Landgraf has promised the network will once again "bring the noise."


PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

TWO AND A HALF MEN, will start airing on FX in fall 2010.

But acquisitions are all about movie packages on FX. They are a key player in the movie after-market, primarily going after male-skewing, edgy titles. This summer they are snapping up the big box-office hits right after they hit theatres.

The Proposal was picked up in a four-year deal with Disney the Monday after it opened in June. Adventureland from Miramax was included in the deal as well. Movies should be on FX in early 2012.

Immediately after the Memorial Day opening, FX announced it had picked up the cable rights to Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian from 20th Century Fox, becoming available in November 2011.

FX picked up the rights to X-Men Origins: Wolverine plus seven other films: The Wrestler, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Bride Wars, Taken, Marley and Me and two action films 12 Rounds and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.

FX outbid Turner and USA for cable rights to Paramount's Star Trek, immediately following the theatrical's weekend release. The movie will probably hit FX's air for the 2011 holiday season for a four-year window.

Right after the release of Monsters vs. Aliens, FX struck a deal with DreamWorks Animation for that title, plus upcoming theatricals through 2012, including Shrek the Fourth, Kung Fu Panda sequel, the original Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, among other titles. (The network has been running the Ice Age and Home Alone titles with some success lately).

In early 2009, FX made a deal with Paramount Pictures on a multiple movie title package covering Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Most of the movies were 2008 releases and will be available to FX by the beginning of 2010. Transformers will be available at the end of 2011. Other package titles consist of Cloverfield, Tropic Thunder, Eagle Eye and Beowulf plus a few other smaller films.

Back in 2008 the net got more aggressive about purchasing big packages, many of them done as pre-buys. For the most part, the movies are adult, edgy titles or comic-book fare (Spiderman, Hulk, Fantastic Four).

The following lists past theatrical acquisitions that include movie titles that have not yet started airing:

Max Payne
The X-Files
I Want to Believe
The Rocker
You Don't Mess With the Zohan
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Wanted
Hellboy II
Letterheads
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Deathrace
Baby Mama
The Express
Changeling
The Strangers
Jarhead
Definitely, Maybe
Doomsday
Eastern Promises
In Bruges
Vantage Point
The Pineapple Express
21
The International
Walk hard
Untraceable
We Own the Night
Iron Man
Incredible Hulk
The Simpsons Movie
Live Free or Die Hard
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Death Sentence
Hitman
Spider-Man 3
Superbad
Ghost Rider
Wild Hogs

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

RESCUE ME (Drama) Original series
An 18-episode sixth season was pre-emptively ordered in February '09. .

SONS OF ANARCHY (Drama) Original series
Renewed for a full 13-episode second season.

DAMAGES (Drama) Original series
Picked up for one more 13-episode season

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (Comedy) Original series
39 additional episodes ordered, to air through 2011.

NIP/TUCK (Drama) Original series
A total of 100 episodes have been ordered. Its last season will air in 2011.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

No recent announcements


ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

None.

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