8:00am PT by Bryn Sandberg
FX Lands New York Times TV Series 'The Weekly'
FX has landed The New York Times’ television news series, The Weekly.
Following a bidding war, FX scored the first-run North American rights to The Times’ weekly series, which marks both the publication’s foray into TV news and the network’s entry into the weekly news genre. FX has committed to a minimum of 30 episodes of the half-hour docuseries, which is set to premiere later this year. A deal was also struck with corporate cousin Hulu, which will make the platform the exclusive SVOD streaming home to episodes of the series the day after they air on FX.
Produced by The New York Times and Left/Right, The Weekly is described as a narrative documentary news program that will bring to life one or two of the Times’ biggest and most important stories each week. Similar to the way the Michael Barbaro-hosted podcast The Daily has taken a narrative approach to news, The Weekly will find the stories behind the headlines that would otherwise be left on the cutting-room floor.
And just as The Daily has introduced listeners to journalists including Mike Schmidt, Maggie Haberman and Rukmini Callimachi, reporters from the Times will act as guides to their own reporting in The Weekly. Viewers will go along for the ride as they see them chasing their stories and watch as they conduct their interviews. But there’s one key difference: Unlike The Daily, The Weekly won't have a host. Instead, the show will attempt to eliminate the layers that separate viewers from New York Times journalism.
The Weekly is the latest in a slew of projects that aim to go behind the scenes of journalists today. Liz Garbus' New York Times documentary The Fourth Estate — which follows the newspaper and its journalists as they cover the first year of the Trump administration — will premiere on Showtime later this month. In April, Netflix ordered a weekly series called Follow This, set to debut July 9, which will follow reporters at BuzzFeed News as they explore a variety of topics.
“The New York Times is synonymous with excellence and FX is honored to be chosen as their partner on what will be the first entry for both organizations into the weekly TV news business,” John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions, said Wednesday in a statement. “A free press is vital to the health of our American democracy. The Weekly will give viewers compelling stories about the courage and commitment New York Times journalists bring to seeking out and reporting the truth. We also want to thank our partners at Hulu on this deal and the team at Left/Right.”
“Our ambition with The Weekly is to bring the authority and excellence of New York Times journalism to the largest possible television audience,” added Meredith Kopit Levien, chief operating officer of The New York Times Company. “Partnering with FX and Hulu together for distribution represents an entirely new and uniquely powerful way do just that. The leadership at each of these organizations demonstrated real enthusiasm for The Weekly and for work of The Times. We are incredibly excited to work with them, and with our production partners at Left/Right, to make millions more people spend much more time with quality, original journalism.”
Said Sam Dolnick, an assistant managing editor who will oversee The Weekly on behalf of The Times' newsroom: “The Times newsroom has the raw ingredients for must-watch TV: on-the-ground reporting, unmatched expertise, and a steady stream of scoops. Now, we have the right partners to create a new kind of narrative news show that will have an unconventional approach and a modern sensibility and will help more people understand the world each week.”
“It’s a documentary filmmaker’s dream to be given an all-access pass to the reporters and editors at The New York Times — journalists who are constantly breaking the news, scooping the competition, and starting some of the most important conversations of our time,” noted Ken Druckerman, co-president of Left/Right. “Our goal in this series is to add a new dimension to these stories by bringing their words and work to life on the screen.”
News that The Times was developing a TV new series leaked in February when the company posted a job listing on its site for an editor/executive producer. The series will be produced by The New York Times and Left/Right, a Red Arrow Studios company co-founded by Druckerman and Banks Tarver (This American Life, The Circus). In addition to the FX’s linear telecast and Hulu’s second window, episodes will also be available to view on FX’s VOD services, FXNOW and FX+. WME represented the project.