Star World, FX have Asia on edge

New branding, edgier series in the works

SINGAPORE -- English-language entertainment channel Star World and its News Corp. sibling FX -- the Asia version -- are moving toward a bolder content acquisition strategy and an edgier identity in the region.

The pay TV nets' latest push includes a new branding campaign and the introduction of racier cable offerings like "Californication" into such conservative markets as Singapore via FX.

At Star World, the new primetime lineup includes "Beverly Hills, 90210" spinoff "90201" as well as the new season of "Heroes," Star Group entertainment president Todd Lituchy said Monday.

The network's branding campaign, dubbed "Reface," launches Tuesday to coincide with "90210's" premiere in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. It includes a new logo, graphics and promo spots. "Heroes" makes its debut Thursday.

On Monday, FX will launch its own new schedule. In addition to "Californication," FX Asia premieres include "Mad Men," about smoking, boozing ad execs in the 1960s, and "The Riches," about a nomadic family of con artists living the American dream.

The new FX attitude is edgier and bolder, and for the first time includes women in its target audience, Fox/National Geographic channels' Hong Kong-based boss Zubin Gandevia said.

Channel programmers added that, while cuts have been made to comply with content codes, the story lines have not been compromised.

FX also will air comedy series "Peep Show," animated hit "Family Guy" and spy drama "Alias."

The FX revamp is part of Fox International Channels' increasingly aggressive content play across Asia.

Fox International Channels boss Ward Platt said that acquisition budgets at sister service Fox Crime Asia had doubled recently with the addition of new seasons of series "Dexter," "Kill Point" and "Brotherhood."