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FX Performance/Schedule Analysis - February 2009

PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of March 22, 2009)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-34 & Adults 18-49

FEBRUARY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

NIP/TUCK

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

When movies represent nearly 100% of the primetime fare, biggest titles run on Thursdays and Sundays. When originals are on the air, they tend to run mid-week - Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 10PM, and bigger movie titles are usually scheduled as lead-ins..

FX was never a network to run multiple encores of its series, a la BRAVO, and it has even given up on running encores on Sunday nights, so each program now gets just one primetime run. However, movie titles tend to run multiple times throughout the month...

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

JANUARY - FEBRUARY:

No changes vs. January. NIP/TUCK still runs on Tuesdays and, DAMAGES runs on Wednesdays, with movies filling out the rest of the schedule.

FEBRUARY:
PREMIERES:
** NONE

FINALES:
** NONE

MARCH AND BEYOND:
PREMIERES:
** April 7 '09: RESCUE ME (22 eps, 5th Season)

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

This time last year, FX was airing new episodes of its highly acclaimed originals as the broadcast networks were forced into repeats by The Writers' Guild strike. As a result, February 2008 remains one of FX's best months ever. This year, both FX and the broadcast networks are running originals episodes, and it was NOT one of FX's best months. Compared to last year, total primetime household ratings are down -13%, men 18-49 ratings are down -18% and women 18-49 ratings are down -7%.

NIP/TUCK is the strongest force on the network so far this year and is the clear ratings leader, as was the case last year. However, original telecasts were weaker this year. ,The 2009 core demo ratings performance is -18% lower than the original telecasts that aired in February 2008.  It should be noted that in 2008 FX was running NIP/TUCK encores on Sunday nights. This year's total program average of four new episodes is more than +25% higher than last year's total program average of four new episodes and four encores.

Of course movies are what drive FX, as they account for the overwhelming majority of the primetime fare, and they are the main reason for the decline in ratings. Many of the titles that were running last year are still running this year. Top titles this year were The Marine and Transporter 2 among men 18-49. Both of these titles were also running last year, with stronger numbers.

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:
February 2009 vs. February 2008  (% Change )
HH         M18-49    W18-49
Monday 8-11pm            -13%           -21%          -8%
Tuesday 8-11pm           -29%           -34%        -21%
Wednesday 8-11pm      -24%           -42%          -6%
Thursday 8-11pm             4%             11%           7%
Friday 8-11pm               -15%               6%        -25%
Saturday 8-11pm            10%              -7%          9%
Sunday 8-11pm              -22%           -13%          4%
MTWTFSS 8-11pm        -13%            -18%        -7%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

FEBRUARY 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

FX's bottom-line primetime ratings are down in the single digits vs. last month: -7% for households, -6% for men 18-49, and -9% for women 18-49. That isn't too bad of a drop, but there were not any clear success stories either.

Monday was the only night of the week where we saw men 18-49 ratings grow over last month. The night's movie line-up, led by The Transporter, delivered a +13% growth among men 18-49 and a -6% decline among women 18-49.

Tuesdays were all about NIP/TUCK. The program received strong movie lead-ins, and grew audience from there. The four telecasts were each among the top rated of the month on all demos, performing well above all other program and movie averages. Compared to last month's season premiere, NIP/TUCK ratings are down about -15% on households and demo.

Wednesday night is DAMAGES at 10PM. The program is struggling as it underperforms FX's average primetime audience on all demos. On the bright side, there have been some improvements on audience composition. Last month's second season premiere brought in a much older audience than is typical for FX. This month the audience is younger, but more because older audiences tuned out, rather than the preferable scenario of younger audiences tuning in. The program retains a strong female skew, and while it lost -24% of household ratings vs. last month, it lost just -5% of women 18-49 ratings. Women 25-54 ratings dropped by -22%.

Thursday through Sunday on FX is all movies (with a few filler eps. of THAT "70s SHOW on Fridays). There was no growth on either men or women 18-49 ratings for any of the four nights. Saturday nights suffered the least, with men 18-49 ratings down just -2% and women 18-49 ratings down by -8%. Sundays showed the biggest declines with men 18-49 ratings down by -13% and women 18-49 ratings down by -26%.

ACQUISITIONS:

Acquisitions are all about movie packages on FX. They are a key player in the movie after-market, going after male-skewing, edgy titles.

In early 2009, FX made a deal with Paramount Pictures on a multiple movie title package covering Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Most of the movies were 2008 releases and will be available to FX by the beginning of 2010. Transformers will be available at the end of 2011. Other package titles consist of Cloverfield, Tropic Thunder, Eagle Eye and Beowulf plus a few other smaller films.

Back in 2008 the net got more aggressive about purchasing big packages, many of them done as pre-buys. For the most part, the movies are adult, edgy titles or comic-book fare (Spiderman, Hulk, Fantastic Four).

The following lists past theatrical acquisitions that include movie titles that have not yet started airing:
It was announced in October 2008 that FX purchased the cable rights to three 20th Century Fox movies: Max Payne, The X-Files: I Want to Believe and The Rocker. FX paid an estimated $8 million for a four-year term that begins in late 2010/early 2011.

In June, 2008 it was announced FX would pay approximately $11 million for the exclusive cable network-window rights to air the Sony film You Don't Mess With the Zohan starring Adam Sandler. FX's window opens in 2010 following the exclusive pay-TV run on Starz.

On March 25 a $115 million+ Universal deal was announced. The deal comprises most of the titles on Universal's 2008 slate; about 15 titles, many of which are prebuys. Titles include The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Wanted, Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Leatherheads. Other titles in the FX package include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Deathrace, Baby Mama, The Express, Changeling and The Strangers, Jarhead, Definitely Maybe, Doomsday (Rogue Pictures), Eastern Promises and In Bruges (Focus Features). The FX window kicks in about 28-30 months after the theatrical release, with the first of the bunch available summer 2010.

The Sony Columbia Pictures package also includes prebuys to five unreleased titles, which are Vantage Point starring Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox, The Pineapple Express starring Seth Rogan, Step Brothers starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, 21 starring Kevin Spacey and The International starring Clive Owen. According to Variety, the deal also includes these three other released films: Walk Hard, Untraceable and We Own the Night. FX is scheduled to air the featured films within about 28 months of their debut in theaters and pay-per-view channels.

Marvel has struck a deal with FX for the TV rights to Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and three others in another pre-buy arrangement.

FX paid $55 million for the exclusive network-window rights to five theatrical movies from 20th Century Fox:  The Simpsons Movie, Live Free or Die Hard, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Death Sentence and Hitman. The movies become available to FX in fourth quarter 2009, after their pay TV runs on HBO. The movies are all consistent with FX's male-oriented programming strategy.

Other deals include Columbia's Spider-Man 3, Superbad and Ghost Rider and Disney's Wild Hogs.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

RESCUE ME (Drama) Original series
A 22-episode fifth season will premiere April 7th, (and finale on 9/8) and an 18-episode sixth season was pre-emptively ordered in February '09. .

SONS OF ANARCHY (Drama) Original series
Renewed for a full 13-episode second season.

DAMAGES (Drama) Original series
Picked up for two more 13-episode seasons. (The first of these seasons is currently on-air).

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (Comedy) Original series
39 additional episodes ordered, to air through 2011.

NIP/TUCK (Drama) Original series
22 episodes in production, 14 more have been ordered, for a total of 100 episodes. Its last season will be in 2011.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

No recent announcements

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

None.