Web nabs cable rights to 'Line,' 'Flightplan'
FX, coming off the highest-rated fourth quarter in its 11-year history, has promoted Chuck Saftler to exec VP, giving him responsibility for programming, scheduling and operations.In the announcement, FX disclosed that Saftler has bought the cable TV rights to two hit theatricals: Fox’s “Walk the Line” for a license fee of about $15 million and Buena Vista TV’s “Flightplan” for about $12.5 million. John Landgraf, prexy-general manager of FX Networks, praised Saftler as a “short- and long-term strategic thinker,” saying that he’ll “remain one of my key business advisers.” Saftler will also hold on to his post as general manager of the Fox Movie Channel. Saftler has focused lots of attention on buying the network window to theatrical pics, splurging over the past three years on “Spider-Man 2,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “Batman Begins,” “I, Robot,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and the forthcoming “Superman Returns,” among other titles. In addition to movies, Saftler also buys off-network series. Now running successfully on FX are reruns of “That ’70s Show” and “Cops.” Down the road, the net will get repeats of sitcoms “Malcolm in the Middle” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” Saftler, who as director of scheduling was part of the original team that launched FX in 1993, has more seniority than any other FX staffer. Before FX, Saftler was an executive with KTLA Los Angeles. Earlier in his career, as an exec with Columbia Pictures TV, he helped devise the blueprint for the TV syndication of “Seinfeld” and “Married … With Children.”