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With ambitious expansion plans set for fall, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf is elevating his long-tenured team.
FX executives Nick Grad, Eric Schrier and Chuck Saftler each have been promoted to the position of president, a move that follows Tuesday’s announcement that Landgraf would be upped to chief executive of both FX Networks and in-house studio FX Productions. The executive shuffling comes some three months before Landgraf and the newly promoted trio are set to roll out FXX, a primarily comedy-focused network targeting a slightly younger 18-34 demo, as well as expand both FX and FXM (formerly Fox Movie Channel). In an upfront presentation to ad buyers earlier this year, the team said that it intends to deliver more than 25 original scripted series across the suite of channels over the next three years.
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In their new roles, Grad and Schrier will share duties as president of original programming for FX Networks and FX Productions, for which they’re oversee all programming for FX, FXM and FXX. Saftler will serve as president of program strategy and COO of FX Networks, which will give him oversight of scheduling, acquisitions and operations for the group of cable nets. He will also oversee specials, including awards shows, and will continue to have creative and business oversight of the 10/90 series, including Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management and the upcoming George Lopez comedy, Saint George.
“Nick, Eric and Chuck have been involved in every facet of FX’s success over the past decade. It is only appropriate to see them each take on more responsibility as we pursue an ambitious expansion of our channels, programming and distribution platforms,” said Landgraf of his lean and particularly tight-knit executive team. “While it is hard at times to step back from some of the day-to-day creative dialogues I love so much, it makes it easier when trusted colleagues and longtime partners are stepping up. It is my honor to work with them.”
Grad, who previously served as executive vp original programming and development for the male-skewing cable network, has been at FX since May 2002. In his tenure there, he has been credited with developing such FX series as The Americans, Louie, Justified and the upcoming drama The Bridge. Prior to FX, Grad worked at Columbia TriStar Television from 1995 to 2002, where he developed The King of Queens. The University of Pennsylvania grad began his career in the programming department at Fox in 1992.
Schrier has been with the network since September of 1999, when he was hired as then-entertainment president Kevin Reilly’s assistant. He has moved swiftly up the corporate ladder as well, having most recently served as executive vp of FX Productions and head of series development for FX, where he was involved in the development of the network’s many critically beloved series as well as the day-to-day operations of the studio. The latter included managing FX Productions’ interest in foreign sales, syndication and new media opportunities and product merchandise for the studio’s shows. Schrier, a USC graduate who currently teaches a graduate level television business course at the university, began his career as an assistant at CAA and then Brillstein-Grey Entertainment before landing at FX.
For his part, Saftler has the distinction of being the longest-tenured FX employee, having joined the network as director of scheduling in December 1993, seven months prior to the network’s launch. In October 1994, he helped launch Fox Movie Channel in its original incarnation as fXM. More recently, he has been responsible for assembling FX’s blockbuster-heavy movie library as well as the network’s UFC interests and all deals for its acquired series, including Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother and Mike & Molly. He was at the center of the combined first-run/syndication dealings for 10/90 comedy Anger Management and Lopez’ upcoming Saint George, and oversees creative for both series. Before FX, the Boston University grad worked in a variety of program research positions at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, as well as at Columbia Pictures Television, where he participated in the successful syndicated launches of Seinfeld and Married… With Children.
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