21st Century’s Carey Sees “Simpsons” As “Defining Event” For FXX

New cable outlet to use TV, digital rights to burnish its image among consumers

Count Chase Carey among the thousands of fans of Bart Simpson.

The 21st Century Fox president and chief operating officer believes the acquisition of syndication rights to show “The Simpsons” on both TV and digital platforms will end up being “a defining event” for FXX, the fledgling cable outlet that will carry more than 20 seasons of the adventures of Bart, Homer and the rest of the fictional Springfield community.

“It’s the best written show in the history of television,” said Carey, putting the animated program ahead of other Fox hits such as “House,” “The Following,” 24″ and “Ally McBeal.” Having digital rights gives FXX the chance to create a “branding force” for the network. “The experience we can create for the consumer in this digital age with a franchise that has the richest of those characters, the volume of that product…will enable us to use that as  a driving force,” Carey said. “It’s not just going to fill time in the day. It’s not just going to deliver ratings.”

In November, Fox’s Twentieth Century Fox TV and Twentieth TV  set a massive first-ever cable syndication and VOD sale of  “The Simpsons” to FX Networks’ new outlet FXX , valued by some at $750 million.

Separately, Carey noted some softening in the U.S. ad market in the last month, citing year-end dynamics, but noted international advertising seemed robust.

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