FX, Fox plan more minis and limited series

HBO exec Gina Balian joins FX Prods. to oversee longform prod'n

In a move that signals a renewed focus on long-form programming at FX and its sibling Fox network, former HBO exec Gina Balian has been named senior veep of president of limited series for FX and FX Prods.

Balian will oversee development of limited series and minis for FX and FX Movie Channel. Fox will continue to handle its own longform development and acquisitions but will use FX Prods. for production of limited summer series, with Balian overseeing those productions on behalf of Fox.

She will report to both Nick Grad, exec VP of FX original programming, and Eric Schrier, exec VP of FX Prods. and head of series development.

“We are committed to increasing FX’s long-form offerings, and with FXM’s growth the timing is perfect to add long-form original programming to its line-up,” said FX Networks prexy John Landgraf.

Balian’s appointment strengthens the ties between Fox and the fast-growing FX Prods. unit. Fox aims to order its first event series next summer, with a tentative 2014 air date.

“We have been signaling our appetite for large-scale, high-impact event series for Fox for many months,” said Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly. “We’re going to create quality 10-to 12-part events that can stand alone or be evolved into franchises.”

FX sees expanding its event programming and miniseries offerings as a way of attracting top talent that may not be available for a full series. While no timetable is attached, cabler could conceivably got a project off the ground and on the air by fall of next year. FX’s “American Horror Story” was considered a miniseries for Emmy purposes this year because the franchise is returning for a second season with new cast members and an entirely new storyline.

Balian’s appointment is also a sign that FX is looking to raise the profile of FX Movie Channel.

Miniseries and event programming was a staple of a broadcast net’s programming for decades with such fare as “Roots,” “The Thorn Birds” and “The Winds of War,” but the genre faded away from the Big Three over the past decade. Fox may be inspired by the large crowds that cabler History drew to its “Hatfields & McCoys” mini.

At HBO, Balian was senior veep of drama series, responsible for such skeins as “Rome,” “Tell Me You Love Me” and “In Treatment.” She also oversaw much of the creative on “Luck” and “Game of Thrones.”

She will begin at FX on Nov. 1.

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