×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TCA: FX’s John Landgraf: ‘We Have to Become a Heavyweight’ Like HBO, AMC

He reiterates his desire to see Netflix ratings, but also praises the service's programming

“I don’t think it’s possible to be all things to all people,” FX Networks CEO John Landgraf explained to journalists at his TCA exec session. “To try to be simultaneously older and younger has a tendency to diffuse the brand, rather than crystallize it.”

Luckily, FX is broadening the scope of its cable offerings with the launch of sibling net FXX, a male-skewing net that targets the 18-34-year-old crowd. For Landgraf, FXX represents FX Networks’ younger side, while FXM, a movie channel, skews older. FX, to Landgraf, is the “mothership” network that casts a wide net across demos.

“I do think the spirit of the brand will be the same across [these networks],” the chief noted, while emphasizing that one’s tastes in television evolve through the years, and this selection of cable nets cater to different demographic needs.

The exec mentioned he gets “weary” with the notion that the only demo that matters is adults 18-34, noting that the median age for recently-launched FX drama “The Bridge” is 51.

“We just need more shelf space,” he explained. “We started the process for FXX almost a year and a half ago, and we’re going to make just a lot more television shows… It’s been a great luxury to spread out a little and not be so quick on the trigger finger with ratings.” FX dramas see above-average lifts in DVR playback, and “The Bridge,” according to the topper, receives over 80% of a lift with L+7 numbers compared to regular-timeslot numbers.

This increase in shelf space, Landgraf hopes, means FX Networks will be a contender with the juggernaut networks of the drama space.

“I look at the potency of HBO, AMC and what I believe will be a very potent brand in Netflix,” all of which Landgraf dubbed “heavyweights.” “We’ve been punching above our weight for a long time, and our management was very supportive in giving us more resources… We’ll have to become a heavyweight in order to be a top brand.”

Landgraf also took a moment to return to his winter TCA comments on Netflix, stating that he does still wish the streaming site released its ratings.

“If I were the mayor of TV, I think all competitive industries should have verified, third party info,” the exec quipped. “But I don’t get to decide what Netflix does, and neither do you. Another way to look at it all is the quality of output, and if you do that, you have to give Netflix a good nod. They’re making contributions to the ecosystem of television.”

Speaking more broadly, Landgraf said he “sympathizes” with Fox chairman Kevin Reilly’s frustration with ratings, since broadcast nets “get a report card every morning, and those report cards are increasingly inaccurate because they’re capturing such a small fraction of how people are watching TV now.” Since broadcast network revenue relies heavily on ad dollars that are driven by ratings, Landgraf sees how the use of that flawed “report card” can be maddening.

The chief drew some laughs in the ballroom when he offered a kudos to AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and Walter White, a character that Landgraf believes has “ended the nuclear arms race of darkness.” Response came after a journo asked Landgraf if the content on FX — with programs including “American Horror Story” and “The Americans” — could get any darker.

“I can’t imagine a protagonist darker than Walter White,” Landgraf quipped. “I think that’s the end of the road in out-darking each other… We went the opposite way with ‘Justified,’ where the protagonist is a flawed hero… I credit David Chase and ‘The Sopranos’ repeatedly. They laid the cornerstone of what I think is a great flourishing of the drama genre behind these dark protagonists.”

More TV

  • CHAMBERS

    'Chambers' Canceled After One Season at Netflix

    Netflix has canceled the drama series “Chambers” after one season. The series followed a teenager who gets a heart transplant and becomes consumed with the mystery surrounding her donor. The series starred Uma Thurman, Tony Goldwyn, Sivan Alyra Rose, Lilliya Reid, Nicholas Galitzine, Kyanna Simone Simpson, Lilli Kay, Sarah Mezzanotte, and Griffin Powell-Arcand. Leah Rachel [...]

  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

    TV News Roundup: 'The Daily Show with Trevor Noah' to Air Live After Democratic Debates

    In today’s roundup, Trevor Noah announces two live specials after the first Democratic debates and the new season of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” sets a premiere date. SPECIALS “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” will broadcast live following the Democratic Party’s first 2020 presidential primary debates on June 26 and 27 at 11 p.m. ET on Comedy Central. [...]

  • Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Refusing

    Writers Guild 'Plans to Respond' to Agents' Proposal as Frustration Mounts

    In a sign of increasing frustration, Hollywood agents have accused the Writers Guild of America of foot-dragging in the bitter two-month dispute. “It has become clear as more days pass that the Guild is not interested in making a deal,” said the negotiating committee for the agents in statement issued Tuesday. “Over the past year, [...]

  • Samantha Bee Variety

    Samantha Bee Isn't Thrilled to Be the Last Woman Standing in Late Night

    Samantha Bee is now the only female host in late night, and that’s a stat she’s not happy about. “It’s a bit unsettling,” Bee recently told Variety. “It’s been a bad year to be a woman in this space. It’s not really a badge that I want to wear.” Shows that have been canceled over [...]

  • XXXTentacion

    Watch a Trailer for New XXXTentacion Documentary

    A year to the day after rapper XXXTentacion was murdered, his estate has released a trailer for an upcoming documentary on the artist, which the announcement says is “releasing soon.” The clip, which includes narration from X himself, captures quick flashes of him reuniting with family and friends, engaging with fans, and working on music. In the [...]

  • The-Saddest-Goal

    Fascism and Fútbol Feature in Chilean Series Project ‘The Saddest Goal’

    PAMPLONA, Spain – Chilean production company Manufactura de Películas pitched its unconventional Pinochet-era drama “The Saddest Goal” today at Spain’s Conecta Fiction TV co-production and networking TV event, held in Pamplona. Set during qualification for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, a period of great political instability in Chile, “The Saddest Goal” kicks off as the [...]

  • Spain’s La Claqueta, Portugal’s SPi Ink

    Conecta Fiction: La Claqueta and SPi Ink Fiction Co-Production Pact

    Spain’s Seville-based shingle La Claqueta and Portugal’s SPi have clinched a co-development agreement for three fiction projects a year. Companies first made contact at last year’s Conecta Fiction, the annual co-production meet in Spain. The companies have also pacted to co-produce the animated feature-length docu “El viaje más largo” in collaboration with Portuguese pubcaster RTP [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content