Landgraf on Getting FX Shows Over Finish Line During Pandemic

(Image credit: FX Networks)

FX shared its fall releases on a webcast, with John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions, shedding light on getting series completed amidst the pandemic. COVID “all but shut down the industry and of course FX’s series pipeline,” he said. 

A Teacher premieres Nov. 10. The limited series examines the complexities of a relationship between a high school teacher and her student. Kate Mara and Nick Robinson star. 

Season four of Fargo begins Sept. 27, five months after its planned premiere. Production wrapped on the final two episodes Sept. 8. Landgraf said two separate directors and crews--and more than 500 people total--worked on the two episodes. That took 13 days. “We did that because we wanted to concentrate the production in the shortest amount of time possible,” he said. 

Archer starts on FXX September 16 and A Wilderness of Error begins Sept. 25. 

Landgraf detailed FX’s efforts to be more diverse on both sides of the camera. Around 16% of FX episodes were directed by people of color this year, but that will shoot to 46% next year, he said. Series regulars on FX are 50% women and 50% men. 

Landgraf conceded that FX was slow to get diversity rolling, but said it has taken considerable steps. “It’s heartening to see our industry fully committed to meaningful and permanent change,” he said. 

Diversity is good for the bottom line, he added. “We started looking for talent everywhere, in every segment of the population, and our shows and brand got better,” said Landgraf. “When you’re in the talent business, diversity is good business.”

Landgraf said FX on Hulu, which debuted earlier this year, “has exceeded our best expectations. It has created greater awareness and buzz, and increased viewership.”

Original series typically turn up on Hulu a day after episodes premiere on FX and FXX. Landgraf singled out What We Do in the Shadows and Dave for big gains on the streaming platform. 

He said FX is “energized” to be part of Disney. “They have the heft to compete with anyone and be best in class,” he added. 

Asked about Atlanta, Landgraf said seasons three and four of the quirky comedy are written and both will shoot at once. When that starts, no one is sure. “It has been pushed back a little bit,” he said. 

Landgraf made the case that FX shows are in the same discussion with Netflix in terms of beloved series, but that FX does so without nearly as many original series as Netflix. 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.