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Bowling, Travolta Selfies and Weighty Issues Enliven FX Networks Upfront

Bowling, billiards, burgers and beer. FX Networks took a typically offbeat approach to its upfront event on Wednesday night, hosting a gathering at Manhattan’s Lucky Strike bowling alley.

A slew of FX stars and producers took to the lanes, and some even kept the balls out of the gutter. Holly Taylor and Keidrich Sellati, better known as teenagers Paige and Henry from “The Americans,” impressed with their skills on the pool table. The pair’s TV father, Matthew Rhys, was peppered with questions about the any-day-now birth of his child with his “Americans” co-star Keri Russell (who not surprisingly skipped the party).

“People V. O.J. Simpson” stars Sarah Paulson, Sterling Brown and Courtney B. Vance collected compliments on their work in the series. And everybody but everybody wanted to take a selfie with fellow star John Travolta.

But this year’s gathering also had a serious side. The party was preceded by a screening at the Times Square AMC 25 of the final episode of “People V. O.J. Simpson.” The powerful concluding segment of the series that has drawn rave reviews squarely addresses the nation’s thorny racial divide that lay at the heart of the Simpson case.

John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks, hailed “People V. O.J. Simpson” as the kind of meaningful television “that makes people think and talk about issues,” contributing to the current robust cultural conversation about race and the criminal justice system.

In particular, Landgraf said “People V. O.J. Simpson” excelled at presenting differing viewpoints on the merits of the prosecution’s case against Simpson, perspectives that were frequently skewed along racial lines.

Landgraf noted that the nation’s struggle with racially motivated police brutality and misconduct has “not gotten better in the last 21 years” since the trial ended. “We hope that it will get better in the next 21 years, but that will happen only if we acknowledge and talk about these issues.”

(Pictured: John Landgraf, Cuba Gooding Jr. and John Travolta)

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