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Landgraf stays put atop FX Networks

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John Landgraf has inked a three-year deal to remain in his position as president and GM of FX mNetworks.

Landgraf — who oversees FX, FX HD, Fox Movie Channel and FX Prods. — will continue to operate out of Fox Networks Group headquarters in Los Angeles, reporting to FNG president and CEO Tony Vinciquerra.

"John's done a remarkable job ensuring that FX remains true to its core programming brand while also expanding the network into some exciting new territory," Vinciquerra said.

Landgraf joined FX as president of entertainment in 2004 and took his current title a year later. In that time, the network has boosted its ratings among total viewers and adults 18-49, ranking fourth among all cable networks in the demo for first-quarter 2008.

FX has eight original series on its primetime schedule, including six dramas, more than any cabler. The network is launching the drama "Sons of Anarchy" in the fall, not long after "The Shield" returns in September for its final season.

"Rescue Me," "Nip/Tuck" and "Damages" will return next year. In the meantime, FX is plans to air 10 short episodes of "Rescue Me," which was supposed to return in the summer but got pushed back because of the WGA strike. The five-minute episodes, written by Peter Tolan, will air in the summer at 10 p.m. Tuesdays, the series' regular slot.

"This is something different, but we felt it was important to have 'Rescue Me' on the air for fans in some form since the strike made it impossible to air full episodes," Landgraf said, pointing out that "Rescue Me's" upcoming expanded season, debuting in the spring, will consist of 22 consecutively aired episodes.

Landgraf said he believes that "Nip/Tuck" and "Rescue Me" have "a few years" of life left in them, but there's been no decision made on third seasons of "Dirt" and "The Riches," though observers are speculating that renewal prospects are slim. Both had strike-shortened second seasons whose ratings were off from their first seasons.

Landgraf also wants to launch a new comedy series through FX Prods. this year as a companion to "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," which returns in the fall. He's hoping to decide from among several projects by late June to air in the 10:30 p.m. slot after "Sunny."

Also coming up is a relaunch of FXNetworks.com, which will feature original content, video streaming and opportunities for advertisers, and the return of unscripted series "30 Days" in June.

Landgraf added that acquisitions of theatrical titles and off-net series will continue to be a major part of FX's business. Among its recent acquisitions are Universal's 2008 film slate and the comedy "Two and a Half Men."

"We have a smart acquisitions strategy to supplement our originals," Landgraf said. "We've been so successful that now we're in maintenance mode."." (partialdiff)