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Fox’s new web is a special FX

Fox Inc. has christened its new basic cable service FX, saying the general entertainment network will seek to interact with viewers through such devices as live on-air hosts and a daily live breakfast show.

FX chairman-CEO Anne Sweeney said at least 10 additional shows are in development.

The service will launch March 1 next year and will rely heavily on Fox’s film and TV library material as well.

Fox created the basic channel as its solution to negotiations over retransmission consent, in the process providing the studio an outlet for its product similar to Paramount and MCA’s ownership of the USA cable network.

Sweeney said FX will seek to have “a real dialogue going on with its audience” via the on-air hosts as

well as phone and fax lines, establishing “a clear and coherent identity” with its target audience of adults 18-49. Still, the service also has to keep a distinct identity from Fox Broadcasting Co., whose affiliates voiced concerns about any confusion between the two at the time then-untitled FX was sold to them at their convention in June.

The live, untitled breakfast show will be produced through Fox Circle Prods., recently formed and headed by David Evans — one of several in-house production units on the Fox lot.

With recent additions, Sweeney said FX now has deals with cable systems reaching 19 million subscribers, or about 30% of the total cable universe. Fox Inc. chairman Rupert Murdoch has pledged to spend as much as $ 100 million annually on original programming for the service.

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