Does an extra X garner more $?
News Corp. is gambling that it will. The entertainment conglom confirmed Thursday that it would launch a second general entertaiment cable network as a companion to its FX network and its FXM outlet to secure a greater share of ad revenue from marketers.
As FX Networks prexy John Landgraf described the situation, the company hopes to build a “suite” of three general entertainment networks that aren’t necessarily bound together by a single programming genre and target three broad demographics – 18 to 34 via FXX, 18 to 49 via FX and 25 to 54 via FXM – while continuing to provide entertainment that is critically lauded “without falling into the all-things-to-all-people problem that plagues broadcast.”
FXX – one more X would have rendered the channel unpalatable to nearly any distributor of basic-cable networks – will launch Sept. 2 in 74 million homes, Landgraf said. The company did not disclose how it would reach so many homes with a nascent network, but there’s speculation that News Corp. will use its Fox Soccer network to create the new outlet.
FXX will skew slightly younger than FX, and as such, the company will move some comedy selections from FX – “The League” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” – to the new sibling. A weekly latenight talk show, “Totally Biased With W. Kamu Bell,” will also migrate to FXX and expand to five nights a week.
Langraf disclosed plans to add two more comedies to the new network in its first year, building to a goal of six original comedies on the cabler in its second year. FXX will also use reruns of “How I Met Your Mother,” “Arrested Development” and “Parks and Recreation” to fill its schedule.
Among the new programming options slated to air on the channels in the coming year, Landgraf said FX would launch a miniseries based on the popular 1996 movie “Fargo,” with the creative personnel behind that film, Joel and Ethan Coen, aboard as executive producers.
FX will air a fifth season of the drama “Justified” and will introduce a new drama, “The Bridge,” set among detectives on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.