FX Strategic Opportunities - June 2009

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NEED TO KNOW: The FX reputation is all about edgy original drama series with star power such as RESCUE ME, NIP/TUCK and SONS OF ANARCHY.  Quirky comedies such as IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA are also an FX trademark. FX has succeeded at branding itself as the "HBO of ad-supported cable."  They pride themselves on pushing the boundaries of all popular TV genres.

FX has a long development slate of dark, gritty dramas, yet the network has been slow to pull the trigger on launching new series. Movie acquisitions are far more prevalent than program launches, dominating over 90% of the network's primetime line-up.  The original programming that does make it to the air has the look and feel of theatricals.

While admitting they have recently been going with the "status quo," in the next few months the network is expected to pick up at least two series from FX's three drama pilots. THE LEAGUE and ARCHER are two comedies which will launch as companions to SUNNY, and one more is expected to follow. Network president John Landgraf has gone on record with a goal of "maintaining a mix of six original drama series on the air during any given year (four established players, two more experimental) and ultimately ramp up to four comedies. "

So what does a program need to be an FX program? In a Broadcasting & Cable interview, John Landgraf says,  "Audacity is a word we use a lot to describe our brand. He adds that FX also has a propensity for "alpha" characters, and the network aims to ride the balance between high-quality, broad entertainment and literary fare. I don't think you'll ever see an FX show on the air that's not about something; about a question worth examining on a literary level over a sustained number of years."


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