Ahead of the September launch of sibling network FXX, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf met with reporters early Thursday to introduce the key members of his team — newly promoted trio Nick Grad, Eric Schrier and Chuck Saftler — and to break down how the suite of channels will work under its new executive structure.
Despite new titles, the quartet stressed that it will remain business as usual. Budgets will remain as-is, as will the channels’ dedication to being a friendly place for showrunners and talent.
Here are seven things to know about FXX:
1. It’s all about the demo. Executives reiterated that FXX will cater to adults 18-34, with the flagship set at 18-49 and FXM 25-54. Projects will be developed the same way they traditionally have with casting, tone and test screenings determining which network a series ultimately will have a home on. “We don’t have a magic formula,” Grad said. “We’re feeling it out as we go.”
2. There will be some overlapping programming. All of the networks will “look quite different” on-air, Landgraf said, noting there would be some overlap in the programming — notably the movies that air across all three channels. “Some movies will air on one, some on two and some on three,” he said. There will also be some acquired programs that will live on one and others on two. “Generally speaking, original programming will have a home base on one channel.” The newly promoted CEO noted that this doesn’t mean a series couldn’t air on all three or be previewed on others.
3. FXX will have a cutting-edge DIY look. “The entire on-air look is structured around the social media notion of self-documentation and the fact that that generation is a generation that has been photographing and videotaping itself, so there’s a do-it-yourself quality to the way media is created by that generation.” Landgraf said. “You’ll see a blending of the DIY in the way that channel is branded, from the graphics to the on-air promos designed to feel very cutting-edge and organic and very much home to a really young viewer.”
4. FX and FXX will program originals against each other — but it’s not a competition. Saftler noted FXX will feature Wednesday nights with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League, while FX will be wrapping freshman drama The Bridge and leading in to the launch of American Horror Story. “We believe we’ll be talking to different viewers but we don’t believe we’ll be cannibalizing ourselves,” he said.
5. Ready for bumps. The typically candid Landgraf also told reporters that he’s prepared for the bumps along the road as viewers struggle to find where comedies Sunny, The League and Legit — as well as now-daily talk show Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell — have moved. To that end, FX is prepping FX VOD to launch in the latter part of the year with content from all three channels.
6. Anger Management tweaks. The upcoming George Lopez 10/90 comedy will be paired with Anger Management in January on FX. While the Charlie Sheen vehicle has performed well in its Monday sampling on sibling broadcast network Fox, Landgraf noted the ratings on FX were less then they’d like them to be. The series recently took a month-long hiatus to undergo some creative retooling as the writers contemplate changes and rejigger the series. “We’re hopeful to see the show grow a bit more and there will be some changes,” Saftler said.
7. The limited event miniseries series Fargo will likely run on FX, Landgraf told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re going to do one limited series in our next fiscal year, which will be Fargo, and we’re going to do two the year after that; we haven’t identified or picked those up yet, and we have a lot in development,” he said. “We’re debating whether to put one on FX and one on FXM or both on FXM — or both on FX. We haven’t decided yet partially, again, because we don’t know what we’re picking up and where we think is most appropriate distribution-wise.”