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FX Analysis


While accounting for a small percentage of the primetime line-up, original series are a key component of FX’s schedule and brand identity. Original series help to set the tone, but movies comprise the bulk of the programming and the ratings.All of FX’s TV-MA rated programs are scheduled in the 10PM time period

Most cable networks air the majority of their original signature series in the less competitive summer months, but FX likes to play in the pond with the broadcast networks, heavying up on originals in September/October and January/February. FX blatantly bucks the cable trend of launching and showcasing marquee programming in the summertime and the holiday season.

There is a fair amount of regularity to FX's weekly schedule. Tuesdays and Wednesdays feature signature original dramas when they are running. Thursdays are home to original comedies and acquired sitcoms. Fridays host UFC Fight Championships and the biggest blockbuster titles are usually shown on Sundays.


Live + Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2013 vs. January 2012  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

JANUARY 2013: FX was one of only a handful of networks able to significantly improve audience vs. both last month and last year. With a strong base of movies and its unique blend of original drama and comedy series, FX core adult 18-49 audience climbed by 25% over last month and by 38% over last year.

Improvements came on every night of the week, with Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday popping by more than 50% on men, women or both. There wasn’t a runaway night or program that led the rest– there were winners all over the line-up.

JUSTIFIED was back on Tuesday nights, bringing the biggest household and men 25-4 ratings of the month with it. According to FX, the season 4 premiere episode was the most-watched in the series history. FX also noted that demo audiences were particularly strong when timeshifted data was included. We see household audiences flat with last January’s season three SD performance, but growth was definitely there with men as men 18-49 ratings climbed 16% and men 25-54 audiences climbed 37%.

On Wednesdays AMERICAN HORROR STORY brought the biggest female ratings of the month. Its audience was up slightly over December’s performance. But it’s all relative; competitors are quick to point out that total viewing for the finale was down by 40% from the premiere, and down almost 30% from last season’s finale. Timeshifted audience for the season was 4.3 million, but the first season held 5 million. While these numbers are down, they are still very respectable numbers. Add in the strong female draw the program brings with it (something most FX series do not achieve), and we see why FX has announced a third season.

Thursdays are comedy night at FX. The net has developed a solid stable of original comedies that it successfully rotates through the year. This month brings the return of Charlie Sheen’s ANGER MANAGEMENT and stability to the night. Starting January 17th the half-hour comedy began running the remaining 90 episodes left on its order at 9PM. Network president John Landgraf says it will remain there largely without interruption for two years. Ratings weren’t stellar, but there is plenty of time to build an audience.

ARCHER followed ANGER MANAGEMENT at 10PM, topping its previous audience levels and taking the lead among all FX programs for men 18-49 ratings. According to FX, the premiere episode of Archer ranked #1 in its time period outright [inclusive of broadcast] in both M18-49 and M18-34. Critically acclaimed LEGIT followed at 10:30, losing a big percentage of ARCHER’s lead-in.

UFC and ULTIMATE FIGHTER aired a few times this January, helping to spike the younger male audiences.

Movies played their part in FX’s success this month as well. Titles such as Twilight, Iron Man 2 and The Proposal each brought in solid audiences.