NEW YORK — Fox Networks Group will look to tickle young viewers’ funny bones with the fall launch of FX spinoff channel FXX, part of a suite of three channels that will offer more than 25 original series.
FXX will launch Sept. 4 in front of an estimated 74 million households — in part, presumably, from a rebranding of the 49 million-subscriber Fox Soccer Channel, although FX Networks president John Landgraf would not officially confirm the new channel’s distribution plans during FX Networks’ upfront presentation last Thursday (March 28), where it announced the service.
The network will target 18-to-34-year-olds. Its mostly comedy content will come initially from FX’s current lineup of shows, including It’s Always Funny in Philadelphia, The League and Legit — all of which have received additional seasons — and its weekly late-night series Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, which will run five nights a week on FXX.
Landgraf said the network will develop new original content, including dramas, down the line.
FXX has already attracted four charter clients, FX Networks executive vice president of ad sales Bruce Lefkowitz said, although he declined to name them.
‘FEARLESS’ FX CAMPAIGN
FX, which later this year will launch a new brand campaign under the tagline “Fearless,” will continue to target the 18-49 audience with its slate of more dramatic series, including Sons of Anarchy, Justified, American Horror Story, Louie, Archer and, most recently, The Americans.
Landgraf said FX will add several new series, including The Bridge, and a number of limited series, including a takeoff on the Academy Award-winning film Fargo.
He said the move of several FX comedy series to upstart network FXX would not dilute FX’s appeal to viewers: “We believe that our returning lineup of shows is unmatched in all of television, and with the new series we’ll be adding, the quality and depth of FX’s programming lineup will improve.”
FXM, which launched in January 2012 as a rebrand of Fox Movie Network, will offer a slate of theatrical films including Captain America and Men in Black 3.
The three channels will serve as the base for FX Networks’ new FXNOW “TV Everywhere” app that will launch later this year, Lefkowitz said. The FXNOW platform will be available to authenticated subscribers of participating FX cable, satellite and telco providers, although no deals were announced.
Authenticated subscribers will be able to view series from all three channels the day after air, with the five most recent episodes available, he said.
With the suite of channels, as well as the new TV Everywhere product, Landgraf said FX Networks is poised to provide advertisers with myriad opportunities headed into the upfront season.
“The suite will allow FX Networks to deliver more impressions and greater reach across all key demos without falling into the all-things-to-all-people pitfall that plagues broadcast television,” he said.
Bill Carroll, vice president and director of programming for Katz Television Media Group, likened the FX Networks suite approach to that of Turner Broadcasting System, which uses TBS and TNT to reach different audiences by segmenting its programming to specific networks.
“If the FX networks are complementary, then it opens up more opportunity” for advertisers, Carroll said. “If the aggregate of all three is more successful than the one, then they’ve succeeded.”
R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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