FX has made it official: Its new network, FXX, will launch Sept. 2 in 74 million homes. The announcement came Thursday morning during the network’s first upfront presentation in New York.
The new network will target viewers 18-34, FX Networks president and GM John Landgraf said from the stage at Manhattan’s Cipriani. The channel joins flagship FX and FXM, which is dedicated to theatrical acquisitions and targets an older 25-54 audience. FXX will be introduced with a branding campaign that unites all three networks under the tagline FX: Fearless.
Collectively, the networks will ramp up FX’s development and pilot-production slate, more than doubling its current offerings to feature 25 scripted original series across the three nets during the next three years. Each of the nets — all of which Landgraf will oversee — will look to air its programming exclusively in an effort to build distinctive identities as opposed to try to be all things to all people.
FXX will be “slightly more comedy focused,” Landgraf told a roomful of Madison Avenue buyers. It will launch with four original scripted comedies in the first year as well as late-night show, Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, moving from a weekly series to a five-nights-a-week strip. FXX eventually will look to have six original comedies on its schedule as well as original, slightly younger-skewing dramas. Comedies Louie, Archer and Wilfred will remain on flagship FX.
The channel will launch with comedy hits It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League as its anchors. The veteran efforts have been renewed for season 10 and season 5 and 6, respectively. Landgraf also announced a second-season pickup for freshman comedy Legit, and noted that the new net’s fourth comedy likely will come from one of the net’s half-hour pilots. (A decision on the future of Russell Brand‘s Brand X will be made in the next couple of months; if it continues, it too will move to FXX.) Acquired programming set to air on the new network includes Aaron Sorkin‘s Sports Night and Arrested Development. Reruns of Denis Leary‘s Rescue Me also will be shown on FXX.
In making the series of announcements, including a fifth-season renewal of Justified as well as a 10-episode limited-series adaptation of Joel and Ethan Cohen‘s 1996 feature Fargo for FX, Landgraf added that he’s making a pointed run at the broadcast networks’ slipping grip on viewer dominance. Viewers, he said, “have increasingly stopped settling for the sameness of broadcast TV and its endless basic cable imitators.”
What’s more, Landgraf offered advertisers gathered for the presentation an alternative to pricey broadcast advertising fees. As the company’s networks grow — with FX posting gains of 23 percent and 28 percent among the 18-49 and 18-34 demo, respectively, for the first quarter — “they will continue to deliver upscale programming without the legacy, upscale CPMs” [cost per thousand viewers] that the broadcast networks still charge.
Also included in the early-morning presentation were brief snippets and executive producer interviews associated with two upcoming drama pilots: Howard Gordon‘s Tyrant and Guillermo del Toro‘s The Strain. Landgraf confirmed that a writing staff has been assembled for both projects, and additional scripts already are under way.