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FX Offers WTFOD

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FX has never been shy. The network’s persona was built on bold, profane original shows such as The Shield and Nip/Tuck that pushed the envelope on violence and sex on basic cable.

So when a video-on-demand menu offers an explicit version of an FX series, it must be way out of bounds, right? It turns out, not really.

FX’s new Sex&Drug&Rock&Roll, produced by and starring Denis Leary, appears on cable with an MA rating and a warning about language. The language is adult—including multiple uses of the word s---. The only difference in the “explicit” version is that the infamous f-word is not bleeped, making it feel a bit more like HBO or Netflix.

FX says it is offering all distributors the option of the two VOD and that all of the distributors decided to provide both to subscribers. The explicit version gives viewers one more reason to watch via VOD—which the network can monetize—vs. on a DVR, which makes commercial-skipping easy.

At the Television Critics Association a few weeks ago, FX CEO John Land-graf said the network has aired the word “f---” multiple times in the last several years.

“We’re down to the point where there’s little censorship,” he said. “We don’t really get any complaints or pushback when we use it now. So we’re kind of on the verge of being kind of done with the debate or battle over language.”

Advertisers apparently don’t mind. Both versions of the feed have the same commercials load and feature the same sponsors.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.