FX introduces FX Productions

Schrier to run new production unit

FX has formed FX Productions, a unit designed to give the network more control of and ownership in its shows, and has appointed current series and alternative programming exec Eric Schrier to run it.

Network also revealed that many of its dramas — including “Damages,” “Dirt,” “The Shield” and “Rescue Me” — will join “The Riches” among the inaugural offerings of NewCo, the so-called YouTube killer from News Corp. and NBC. Sources say “Nip/Tuck” is not part of any NewCo arrangement.

With FX Productions, the cabler will put as much as half the money into a show and take a stake instead of following its older model, in which it paid a license fee and shifted risk and reward to the studio.

Move will mean that net will spend more up front, but if a show becomes a hit will share in the profits from ancillary markets like international, homevid and digital. “We want to increase ownership of our programming and participate more in the upside of a show’s success,” said FX prexy John Landgraf.

Exec acknowledged that any failures “were going to cost us a little more” but said he believed the successes will outweigh those failures.

Practice is common at some, but not every, cable net; TBS, HBO and Nickelodeon are among those which co- produce.

With the ownership stakes, net will also have more control over the studio production process.FX, which already wholly owns half-hour comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” won’t immediately use FX Prods. to produce dramas entirely inhouse, though Landgraf said that could happen down the road.

Schrier, a Brillsten-Gray and CAA vet who joined FX in 2000 under Kevin Reilly, adds the title of senior veep of FX Prods. to his role as senior veep of original programming in charge of current series and alternative programming. Exec said he particularly saw potential with the international market for newer series like “Damages” and “The Riches,” as well as for digital sales overall.

Among the digital outlets net will look to exploit is sister division NewCo.

While execs have announced that venture will offer a number of TV properties from NBC and News Corp. as free ad-supported streams, many of its workings have remained murky. On Tuesday FX execs said that its shows will appear on the site for at least 30 days after they air on the net.

And Landgraf said that while the availability of shows in the new format could erode linear auds, he hoped the total amount of viewers would increase.