FX, feeling confident with its burgeoning comedy slate, has given season renewals to “Louie,” “Wilfred” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
Announcement was made Saturday at the cabler’s Television Critics Assn. panel by network topper John Landgraf, who was given a three-year extension on his deal.
Landgraf made comedy a priority about a year ago and the network now has five laffers on the air, with all performing relatively well. While “Louie” and “Wilfred” are getting one-season pickups, “Sunny” is receiving a two-season renewal. That means the low-budget skein will have reached nine seasons, making it the longest-running live-action comedy in basic cable history.
It wasn’t just the comedies that Landgraf was touting at the sesh. Timothy Olyphant-starrer “Justified” was up 14% in its second season and there are high expectation for the fourth season of “Sons of Anarchy,” which returns Sept. 6. Overall, FX is coming off its most-watched year ever, up 18% in the 18-49 demo and 19% in total viewers.
Of course, not all recent series were success stories. Both buddy cop series “Terriers” and boxing drama “Lights Out” were pulled after one season because of low ratings.
Next up is “American Horror Story,” from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Murphy is a FX vet, having been the creative force of “Nip/Tuck” — one of the cabler’s signature series.
Landgraf has also seen dailies on supernatural pilot “Powers” and Southern crime saga “Outlaw Country,” and is expecting to make decisions on whether he will pick those up to series in the next two or three months.
Another change coming to FX is that the cabler will be home of college football this fall, covering Big-12, Pac-12 and Conference USA games for a 14-week package.
The pigskin addition will help the net broaden its offerings, and Landgraf acknowledged that with many cablers airing sports, FX needs to be in that game.
“We want to be one of the largest networks in America and all of (our competition) have some sports,” Landgraf said. “ESPN is there, as is USA and Turner. Fox Sports sees FX as a sports platform.”
In addition to picking up two seasons of “Sunny,” as well as an option for a third, Landgraf said FX Prods. has entered into an agreement with RCG, the production shingle of “Sunny” exec producers Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton.
Net also announced it has pacted with Rogers Media to launch FX Canada. Channel will launch Nov. 1 as a digital service, offering FX’s original series, as well U.S. acquired movies and series.
On the bigscreen front, FX has bought the exclusive basic cable rights to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Crazy Stupid Love.” “Apes” had a solid opening weekend and “Love,” starring Steve Carell, has been a critical darling.
The net’s other recent movie pickups include “Captain America,” “Friends With Benefits” and “Horrible Bosses.”