Fox Fumbles Handoff From NFC Championship to ‘The X-Files’

Fox Fumbles Handoff to 'The X-Files'
Courtesy of Fox

After a months-long promotional blitz for “The X-Files,” when Sunday’s big NFL game finally arrived, Fox fumbled the handoff. And that’s a surprise, given how long the network seemingly had this date circled on its calendar.

Never mind that the reviews for this eagerly anticipated revival have been pretty tepid. Fox spent months pounding the drums for the program, giving its premiere the plum time period following the NFC championship game, which, coupled with its AFC counterpart on CBS, are usually the second and third most-watched telecasts in any given year, behind only the Super Bowl.

The tub-thumping for “X-Files” included early screenings (back in October at New York Comic-Con and Mipcom, the international TV market), but Sunday’s kickoff was clearly the moment for which Fox had been waiting. Indeed, other than its returning hit “Empire,” the network largely slogged through the first half of the season to reach this moment.

Networks always use big sporting events as an opportunity to promote their shows. It’s one of the ways they can justify the enormous rights fees paid to the NFL. Even if the audience is borrowed, as network execs once described it, that doesn’t mean football fans can’t be held hostage and force-fed on-air promotion, along with all those Budweiser and movie ads.

Certain factors are inevitably beyond the entertainment division’s control, such as the fact that the game itself turned out to be a 49-15 blowout. In addition, Fox Sports’ post-game coverage droned on until 10:24 p.m. ET, offering a longer window for casual viewers to bail.

The real shock, though, was that Fox didn’t do anything special, either during the early part of the game or within its coverage, to promote the premiere. There were no awkward interviews with the talent, no taped pieces, not even shots of David Duchovny or Gillian Anderson sitting in the crowd looking bored.

Admittedly, a lot of those stunts are silly, and Fox did squeeze roughly a half-dozen “X-Files” teaser spots into the game. Yet even those weren’t particularly enticing — it was as if Mark Snow’s score was expected to do all the heavy lifting — and the overall promo payload showered nearly as much attention on the new drama “Lucifer,” an upcoming UFC fight and sister cable outfit FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”

In a sense, spreading the wealth around makes a degree of sense. After all, “X-Files” will only run six weeks – or five, really, considering that the second episode will premiere a day after the first. No reason to put too many eggs in that one basket.

“The X-Files” should still open quite well, thanks to a mix of nostalgia and all the promotional work done up until this juncture. Still, after a prolonged and concerted push that essentially began, almost irritatingly so, when Fox announced its 2015-16 primetime schedule last May, the “X-Files” finally landed with less a big bang than a dull thud. And a network that usually prides itself on marketing acumen and ingenuity looked, more than anything, like it had simply run out of gas.

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  1. sneezewhiz says:

    I dvr’d the first episode because I work. Deleted it and cancelled the series after discovering I missed half of it.
    There’s way too much other stuff on tv to waste time and money on one show.

  2. Tom Bertany says:

    I could not watch episode 1 of the x-files so I DVR it. I was damned mad to find half hour or so of football and only the first half of the x-files.

  3. John Kessler says:

    I was really looking forward to this series and had in programmed into my DVR. Not being a sports fan I never even thought about the game. I sat back tonight to enjoy the shows only to find the first 35 minutes was all football crap and I never got the end of the show. I can’t find it on demand on my Dish Network system either and they don’t seem to be repeating it. I guess they don’t want non-sports fans watching.

  4. Karen says:

    The real fumble was that Fox didn’t let X-Files START ON TIME. Viewers like myself who had to DVR the show were cheated out of the last 30 mins. or so. I have absolutely no clue what happened at the end. I have been waiting months for this comeback and I get cheated out of it because of football! Why is it the TV world revolves around football?

    • SeattleBoomer says:

      I totally agree that Fox bungled this for DVR viewers on the day of the game, and subsequent days as well. I could not find any repeat showing of the pilot episode to record later. When I looked online, the Fox web site appeared to have the pilot episode available for viewing, but I still cannot get it to play. This is enormously frustrating, as I don’t want to watch episode 2, which I already recorded, until I can view the last half of the pilot.

    • KH says:

      Because the football gets around 40 million viewers. A lot of people cannot get to the live matches so see them via the tv, fairly obvious. And not everyone are x-files fans, just as much as you are not a football fan. Football has been and will be around a lot longer than the x-files, that for sure.

  5. Joe says:

    Didn’t read many other post here, but for sure the FUMBLE was all the garbage that dragged on a good 30 minutes past the hour, when X Files could have started almost right on time. What was that, 1 minute of Post Game antics for every 5 minutes of commercials? Literally. Sorry this was not the Superbowl.

  6. What a stupid article…Fox didn’t fumble anything. Who the heck didn’t know that it would start approximately thirty minutes late? You need to live under a rock to not have known that a show premiering after a major football game was going to start late…so really, X-Files started…RIGHT ON TIME. And everyone I know who was recording it made sure to record whatever Fox has on at 23h00 and 23h30 just to be sure.

    So no, the only people who fumbled were those stupid enough to think it would start at 22h00.

    • Karen says:

      The networks should smarten up & not premiere shows after a football game, because this consistently happens. They need to get a clue – not everyone is into football, & someone tell me WHY is it necessary to do a post game show if you have already watched the game?

    • Damion, you are assuming that everyone cares about football. I couldn’t give a rats аss and I had no idea there was a football game before the X-Files reboot.

  7. Stupid idiots Fox. Now I have about 1/2 of The X Files recorded. Now I have to try to download it to see it all. Did I mention that Fox are total idiots?

    • Um, everyone with half a brain knew the premiere was after a FOOTBALL GAME which almost ALWAYS goes longer than scheduled. I don’t know one person who didn’t record the two shows AFTER the X-Files to be certain they got it recorded…. The only idiots are those who thought it would actually start at 22h00…

      • Stan Marshal l says:

        Who pays attention to when something is on? I tell my DVR to record a show weeks or longer in advance. I expect it to record that show whenever it’s on. If it’s 30 minutes late, then it should start thirty minutes later. Personally I don’t blame FOX for that, I blame the TV provider which should update the schedule in real time so the DVR records correctly. I don’t know what’s on before or after, nor do I care. This isn’t the 90’s where we have to record to VHS and should expect issues. Who has time to check what’s preceding every show to be sure to speculate that it may run long?

  8. Phil says:

    Yea that was crappy ive been hoping and waiting a ling time for a new xfiles ot finally happens and they screw it up with stupid post game garbage.

  9. Peter says:

    My DVR ended up recording the stupid “Post Game Wrap Up” and less than half of the X Files episode.

    I’m not a football fan and feel ripped off.

  10. Terry says:

    For those of us on the Canadian side who had “episodus interruptus” with their episode 1 recording, our cable channel SPACE is repeating episodes 1 and 2, back-to-back, Friday, 9pm to 11pm, AND 1am to 3am. Now shut up and eat your poutine before it gets cold.

  11. Geoff Gentry says:

    Our local Fox affiliate WGHP Fox 8 decided to air a whole hour newscast after the game. The X-Files episode did not start until 11:30 so most folks missed half if the DVRed. The affiliate has not responded the the mounting criticism on twitter and Facebook. They even hid their reviews on Facebook after the 1 star review mounted and folk resorted to foul language. The “news” they did show did not add any value.

  12. They also failed to update the cable companies DVR taping times, so I got 30 min of post game I gave zero cares about and half a show I really wanted to watch. They aren’t even running them a second time, soooo suck it Fox. I heard it sucked anyway.

  13. sigforum says:

    No FOX didn’t fumble. They were simply trying to maximize the income for the station. That’s why they are in business! Not a thing wrong is MAKING DOUGH. The only people it causes concern for are the viewers and WE will hang in there no matter what. The did a fine job and NOW all is well because NONE of the viewers will quit watching!

  14. Tbone Thomas says:

    Perhaps if Fox had reasonably trimmed the commercials and commentary from when the Football game ended until when the X-Files began, maybe it wouldn’t have seemed so fumbled. There was a block of commercials that easily EXCEEDED 5 minutes between 10pm and 10:24pm. Really?? You have a huge reboot that was supposed to start at 10pm, and you delay it for GREED? No wonder Fox sucks.

  15. M W says:

    With DVR’s only recording time slots where the shows are supposed to be the ending 30 min. of X-Files did not get recorded for people working, etc. That could not reset DVR for reasons else. Need a Replay.

  16. Brent C. says:

    Nah… Fox rocks. Football was awesome and so was the X-files. But Fox should probably learn that a playoff game and a lot of post-game is more than 3-1/2 hours.

  17. Bill Uyesugi says:

    Oh here comes Fox again… Kind of like Futurama and how can one forget Firefly. I mean they showed Firefly out of order and then would just cancel episodes because of football. X-Files is DOA because of Fox… again.

  18. RTF says:

    Wow. Are you an X-files superfan, or what? What’s next? Instead of Cam Newton handing a touchdown ball to a kid, he should have given one to David and Gillian? Should there have been a special hour long half time show that doubled as a play based on a classic X Files episode? How about a UFO landing directly on the field in the middle of play, where Mulder and Scully then rush to the field and take its occupants under arrest? Sheesh. Man, I like X-Files too. But it’s premiere is not the freaking moon landing for crying out loud. Calm down.

    • I could care less about watching a bunch of Neaderthals chasing after a ball, slapping each other’s butts and jumping up and down like monkeys. It is a barbaric and useless sport.

  19. Jay! says:

    1) Did everyone just get their DVR’s yesterday? LOL Are you new to FOX, or how live sports work? When taping a live sporting event, you should always extend the recording. And when taping a show after you should always do the same. It’s on YOU, DVR owner. Not FOX, not DirecTV.

    2) DirecTV does offer the option to extend a recording. It’s not their fault you don’t know how to do this.

    3) ON Demand! It’s going to show up soon. Record tonight’s episode. Record the On Demand showing of first episode. Watch OD first. #ProblemSolved.

    4) Reading the comments below, it looks like the episode is on the FOX website. You have a computer? Use it.

    It’s like many of you went into hibernation when the show went off the air and haven’t kept up with the state of technology.



    • I don’t watch sports so why would I even THINK to see if a game was on prior to the release of the first show of the season? They screwed up the first show of the comeback premier. THEN, they had the audacity to show at LEAST 5 or 6 commercials promoting it during the first half hour. Why not save the butt slapping and fist pumping for a later time, show the next show on time, or forego all the unnecessary commercials so the show can be aired in it’s entirety within the allotted time.
      BTW, I have tried unsuccessfully to watch the show on FOX online.

  20. Dave says:

    All I can think now is “I get knocked down, but I get up again. Ya never gunna keep me down.”

  21. Debbie Petch says:

    I am very angry with Fox. I am a Canadian so I taped the show on a Canadian channel rather than Fox. Canadian channels typically broadcast the show even if the American channel doesn’t. This did not happened. Fox had no right.

  22. Carlton says:

    Yes, FOX fumbled big time…and I blame Direct TV as well. This has happen to us many times with programs we set to record on DVR (because we work early the next day ) only to see 30 minutes of the beginning of a recorded show. I actually called Direct TV about this months ago and they have no solutions. Bring back our old VHS recorders and just set the timer for 90 minutes and not have to worry. A couple of rotten tomatoes to Fox and a couple more to Direct TV for not being able to compensate time. Come on…. this is the 21 st Century and you can not create a patch or a solution.

  23. Tom Ewing says:

    Ayup, and I had it set to record on DVR so I could watch it when I got home. As a result I got a half an episode that cut off in the middle. Good job Fox. I guess X-Files is an afterthought not worth my time too?

  24. KH says:

    Good article.

    People need to get a grip. Anger and madness and screaming at waiting half an hour longer? I have seen kids with more patience. Talk about first world problems. I mean, that’s not that long if you have waited years and it’s to be expected a live sports game would overrun. X-files fans need to get a grip and get realistic. Calm down, seriously. Even if the DVR didn’t record it properly, it will be available later.

    • billy says:

      kh… do you understand what happened?? people are gonna watch part 2 without seeing the last half of the part 1 !! i see you’re really intelligent…

      • Smart says:

        So it’s just a TV show is the dumbest shit I’ve read yet. I’ve waited years for it come back asshat

      • KH says:

        omg!!!! OMG!!! some people also have no home and suffer illnesses but you guys missed half of an xfiles episode that will be available online?!!! get a life.

      • Bill B. says:

        So?! It’s just a TV show.

      • daiv says:

        I see what has happened, FOX viewers are clueless on how to watch a show on the internet or their tablet. My five year old nephew could find it if I ask him to.

  25. billy says:

    my recorder missed last half of the show! i’m sure millions have also. cant they repeat this first episode???????

  26. laurie says:

    they should replay is show-didn’t get to see it because of nfc c game went into the x files half & miissed last part of the show

  27. Simple math. Conference championship game, without overtime, plus awards ceremony, plus post-game interviews, plus post-game blather, four hours. Start the game at 6. And everyone with DVR, record two hours for a one-hour broadcast.

  28. billthom56 says:

    On top of everything else, the Fox online promos we saw did not make it clear that The X-Files was on at 7:00 pm PST, so when we went to look for it, the show was already long gone at 10:00 pm PST. At 7:00 pm, we were watching original episode of X-Files on Netflix to get ready for the premiere! This whole thing was very badly handled. Fox needs to re-run the 1st episode this week.

  29. DanaLover says:

    Now I realize why guys dump their wives after 20 years of marriage. When Dana Scully was young and nubile, her bitching was tolerable. Now that she’s turned into a middle age milf with decreased babe appeal, her bitching really starts to get irritating. What is Skinner on? He didn’t age at all! He looked great.

  30. Charlotte Rittel says:

    Due to the game, my DVR didn’t compensate fort this so I only got the first 1/2 hour of the X-files. this after being sure day after day that it was set up correctly to record it. I can’t believe this!!!! Is Fox going to do a replay of the 1st new episode, and it so when?

  31. Trudy says:

    We turned it off after Chris Carter started defaming FOX News & Bill O’Reilly. No loss.

  32. Christopher Ryan says:

    I have to say, though. It’s nice the see the tons of X-Files love on here. It really was an amazing set-up / catch-up to start it off. I loved every change and loved everything that remained the same.

  33. tiffany says:

    I’M SOOOOO MADDD RIGHT NOW..I WANT TO KISS SCULLY ( she looks fantastic)AND MOULDER THEN SLAP THEM AT THE SAME DAMN TIME!!! FORGET WAITING MONTHS I HAVE BEEN PRAYING AND WAITING YEARS…only to wake my pretty ass up..take the kids to school…make my mcafe k cup coffee…light my joint..kick back …turn on TV AND BAM…30 minutes of Cam Newtons fine ass…I CAN’T STAND CAM NEWTON NOW. .and my kids play in the same field he played in as a kid LMAO!!!!!!

  34. Anne Widner says:

    My husband and I are very annoyed with Fox and it’s poor scheduling of this much hyped return of the X Files. They need to have it on demand either on television or its website sooner than 8 days after the showing.

  35. Christopher Ryan says:

    Fox almost screwed over the X-Files during its original run and they still never learn their lesson. They never know what audiences really want and drag the bottom of the barrel for entertainment, meanwhile are careless with the best they have to offer.

    I watched the premiere live and I’m glad I did. I would have missed the first half if I had trusted DVR.

  36. Louis Romero says:

    thanks fox tv for delaying the start of X Files. Most recordings must have miss about 20 minutes of the X Files premiere as I did. is this going to be on demand? (DirecTV)

  37. Nothing like killing premiere viewing by screwing up delayed watching. A botched hand-off without a doubt. Understandable they’d try desperately to hold onto football viewers for the ratings but not in the service of “X Files” whatever they might have wished.

  38. Geoff says:

    So 3 hours allotted for the game and of course it runs an extra half hour. Then they had to do the post game show. I gave up and went to bed. don’t watch football anyway, and I am in South Carolina and the Panthers won and I don’t care.
    If they can’t finish the game on time, then start earlier, or at least put the scheduled program on a digital subchannel at the stated time.
    Since I missed X-Files last night I guess I won’t watch the rest of them either. Way to go FOX!

    • daiv says:

      sounds like your complaint should be directed at your provider and not to Fox. They aired the episode in it’s entirety, your provider’s DVR didn’t compensate for the delay and neither did you by not adding extra time to your recorder.

  39. kenfurman46 says:

    Like many revivals x files has been
    Done 100 times in different guises since it’s heyday and no One cares anymore.

  40. Richard says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more ! The Post Game show seemed to go on and on and I continued to scream at the TV, “OK, we know who won the game, let’s move on to the entertainment sometime before the stroke of twelve !”.

  41. Heather says:

    Apparently when I go to watch my DVR’d episode tonight, I’ll only have half an episode to watch. Should I even bother at this point since episode 2 is tonight? Oh – and I’m in Canada so I can’t watch Fox’s online feed. Geeze, thanks.

    • Tara McFly says:

      I punched in ‘How the f#@k am I going to be able watch episode 1 of the 2016 X Files if live in Canada’ and it brought up the CTV feed at the bottom of the page. Gotta’ go as I can watch it now. At least ‘I want to believe’ I can watch it now.

  42. I understand Fox’ viewer base is diverse But do we need to hear their Pins heads tell us the they watched the football game and have the camera point the lens at(Pin head) Me!, Me ohhh me!
    Washed up Terry Bradshaw, If I were Rupert Murdoch and their BS and Program Manager did this to one of the most influential Drama, Sci Fi TV shows since the Outerlimits I be fit to be tied up!

  43. Stephen says:

    So annoyed that I had to watch over 20 minutes of a football after show when I have been waiting for the X-Files for MONTHS. The whole time I’m like,”Is this really happening? I gotta go to bed man!”. Thank you Fox for shoving FOOTBALL down my throat. Unbelievable.

    • Richard says:

      Couldn’t even hear anything the post game panel was saying with all the feedback and reverberation from the stadium sound system. What a waste of time !
      Chris Carter didn’t waste any time resurrecting all the old characters and killing off the new ones that set the tone for this new series. Obviously he blew his special effects budget on the first show so he could justify relying on the viewers imagination to fill in the blanks in future shows. So far, I don’t predict an extension of the show beyond it’s currently available six episodes !

  44. Marc says:

    Loved the show. I can’t wait to see the second episode tonight!

  45. Bill Sapp says:

    You can go to the Fox web site and watch the first episode if you missed it. I missed it because I get up at 4am, and I didn’t want to stay up until 11pm.

  46. Dale says:

    made the mistake of recording it. missing 35 minutes. Should’ve known better, for some reason football fans need things explained to them an hour after the game has actually ended. UUUhhhhggg!!!

    • daiv says:

      Dale it looks like FOX viewers need their hand held to show them where the X-Files can be located on the FOX website or the FOXnow app

  47. Scott T. says:

    I watched the premiere live, because I had a feeling that if I had DVR’d it with my Hopper, I would’ve missed out on the last 30 minutes, and apparently I was right. To be honest, FOX should’ve just scheduled the 2-night premiere for Monday and Tuesday, knowing that football usually runs late, 95% of the time anyway. The episode was pretty good overall. They kept the same opening theme music and intro, though it seemed to be a few seconds shorter than before. Great VFX, including the spaceship and the laser beam weapon at the end — it actually reminded me of the 90s when sci-fi was actually GOOD. Can’t wait to watch the next episode tomorrow (or tonight, since it’s after midnight lol).

    It is kind of sad that the football game running late is probably going to negatively affect the ratings for the premiere. This scheduling issue happens a lot with new episodes of The Simpsons as well. Maybe FOX will schedule a repeat on Friday or Saturday night.

    That being said though, this is why people need to get away from 2-tuner DVRs — so you can extend the recordings on Sunday nights by an extra hour or two, and not have to worry about them being cut off due to football or Nascar, or whatever other sport FOX starts running at 6 pm. But hey, with the new Hopper 3 having 16-tuners, that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone anymore. :D

  48. daiv says:

    If only Fox had a website that people could go to on their computer and watch the entire episode that they missed since they couldn’t be bothered with to watch as it aired. If only there was an App “Foxnow” for those that have a smartphone or tablet so they could watch the episode.

    • Heather says:

      It doesn’t work in Canada. Feed only available in the US.

    • Astra says:

      That is only after the fact. They advertised the premiere as being available online and through their apps. At 10pm-1130pm I had the web page open, fox now on tablet and fire TV going and Hulu!!! nothing!! No XFILES at all. I missed it! Then reading the news I saw spoilers on another page. Great. Yeah Fox fumbled miserably. They should have been clear about when and where. Was it 1 hour after airing? Midnight? Whenever they felt like it that they put it up? When will tonights be put up? No clue. I scoured for the answers, found none. Fail.

  49. SWeber661 says:

    I couldn’t give half a shit less whether fox “fumbled” on the premier. Their marketing skeems have nothing to do with the quality of the show. I saw the full episode in it’s entirety(thank u PirateBay), and as a life-long, diehard fan of the X-Files series, I have to say that tonight’s episode was absolutely amazing. Chris Carter has outdone himself again, with everything from a fresh new spin on a story that captured my heart as a child, to the stunning special effects. It may be my new favorite episode of the series, tied only with Mark Shepherd’s Pyro-Kinetic episode from the very first season. The nostalgia is real, people, and once again, “I believe” in good television.

  50. Dan Thompson says:

    Totally disgusted there is no way to see the missed episode tonight ANYWHERE. There are many thousands of us who tried to record episode one and only got 30 minutes. We understand the NFL contract obligations but get a clue that a sizable audience is using DVR. We have looked everywhere. Please make the episode available SOMEWHERE. After hyping the series for months, to shoot yourself in the foot. Really!

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