FX Performance/Schedule Analysis - September 2009


(Updated as of October 23, 2009)


Serialized drama/thriller follows a powerful litigator (Glenn Close) and her protege.
Status: Second season ended on April 1. Two more seasons have been ordered. Produced by Sony Pictures Television / No Hands Productions.

This dark comedy follows four friends who struggle between their desire to help each other and their compulsion towards looking out for their own best interests.
Status: Season 5 premiere September 17. Produced by 3 Arts Entertainment / FX Networks, LLC

Hotshot plastic surgeons confront career, family and romance problems.
Status: Season 6 premiere 10/14. 10x60. Produced by Warner Bros. Television, Shephard Robin, O Entertainment

Denis Leary stars in and produces this original drama series about a firefighter struggling to hold his two worlds together: his brothers at the station and his troubled family life.
Status: Season 5 finale September 1. Sixth and final season ordered for 2010.  Produced by Sony Pictures Television / Dreamworks SKG / Apostle Pictures

A multi-generational family drama centers on a young man involved in a motorcycle club trying to face his newfound responsibilities of becoming a father. 
Status: Season 2 premiere September 8.  Produced by Fox 21, FX Networks LLC, Linson Films




Lately, we have seen movies represent nearly 100% of the primetime fare, but FX has started to bring on more original series this Fall. Originals tend to run mid-week, when they are running - Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, and always at 10PM for content reasons. This month we get drama on Tuesdays with SONS OF ANARCHY and comedy on Thursdays with IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA. Bigger movie titles are usually scheduled as lead-ins for high-profile originals.

FX was never a network to run multiple encores of its series, a la BRAVO, and it has stopped running encores on Sunday nights, so each program  gets just one primetime run. However, movie titles tend to run multiple times throughout the month  and successful titles have become monthly staples (i.e. Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Day After Tomorrow).


SONS OF ANARCHY: September 8
ARCHER: Sneak preview September 17 @ 10:30PM, official debut January 2010
NIP/TUCK: October 14
THE LEAGUE: October 29 @ 10:30PM
DAMAGES: January 2010


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:
Septwmber 2009 vs. September 2008  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

September was a good month for FX, as it managed to navigate out of the summer doldrums and into the fall season. RESCUE ME ended its 22-week run with a strong finale, and was replaced on Tuesday nights by the second season of SONS OF ANARCHY. IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA was back on Thursday nights. The result? The best target demo men 18-49 numbers since the beginning of the year; bottom-line Monday - Friday primetime ratings are up 14% vs. last month and 10% vs. last year.

RESCUE ME finished well. Compared to the August runs, the September 1st finale pulled in 33% higher household and men 18-49 ratings. While the program shows strength, it is still performing significantly lower than its last season of two years ago. Next summer will bring us the final season of RESCUE ME.

SONS OF ANARCHY is undoubtedly the best thing to happen to the FX line-up in quite some time. All three telecasts were September's top ratings performers. The show is pulling in ratings that are at least double the rest of FX's primetime fare. And compared to season one, season two of ANARCHY is performing about 90% better on demo.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA had a successful return to Thursday nights. The niche program has a strong appeal to younger male audiences; men 18-49 share is double the men 25-54 share. And the men 18-49 numbers are not too shabby - they top the RESCUE ME finale by 35%. (To illustrate its young skew, RESCUE ME tops SUNNY on Men 25-54). Compared to last season's start, SUNNY is grabbing 11% better household ratings and 33% better men 18-49 ratings. The network has been working to develop comedic companions to SUNNY. Last year's TESTEES did not pull in strong enough numbers for a return. Instead, three new comedies are lined up - THE LEAGUE is slated to start at the end of October, and ARCHER and LOUIE will follow in 2010. ARCHER was given a preview on SUNNY's premiere night, September 17. Ratings fell by almost half vs. SUNNY. Let's see if ARCHER keeps to its originally scheduled premiere date.

The foundation of FX remains its acquired theatricals. As always, a few movies stood out from the large pack. Two new titles each received four primetime runs - Perfect Strangers and Ghost Rider. Four titles drew in better than a 1 HH rating - Ghost Rider (2x), Pathfinder, Next, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The best M18-49 ratings went to Ghost Rider, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Next and Jarhead. The best performing W18-49 titles were Ghost Rider (2x), The Devil Wears Prada (2x) and Mr. And Mrs. Smith (2x). Sundays remain the best rated all movie night.

All in all, a solid month for FX. Executives have indicated that the network is "back" with originals once again becoming a driving force. So far, the numbers indicate that the audience is ready.


TWO AND A HALF MEN, will start airing on FX in fall 2010.

But acquisitions are all about movie packages on FX. They are a key player in the movie after-market, primarily going after male-skewing, edgy titles. This summer they are snapping up the big box-office hits right after they hit theatres.

The Proposal was picked up in a four-year deal with Disney the Monday after it opened in June. Adventureland from Miramax was included in the deal as well. Movies should be on FX in early 2012.

Immediately after the Memorial Day opening, FX announced it had picked up the cable rights to Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian from 20th Century Fox, becoming available in November 2011.

FX picked up the rights to X-Men Origins: Wolverine plus seven other films: The Wrestler, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Bride Wars, Taken, Marley and Me and two action films 12 Rounds and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.

FX outbid Turner and USA for cable rights to Paramount's Star Trek, immediately following the theatrical's weekend release. The movie will probably hit FX's air for the 2011 holiday season for a four-year window.

Right after the release of Monsters vs. Aliens, FX struck a deal with DreamWorks Animation for that title, plus upcoming theatricals through 2012, including Shrek the Fourth, Kung Fu Panda sequel, the original Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, among other titles. (The network has been running the Ice Age and Home Alone titles with some success lately).

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:

Max Payne
The X-Files
I Want to Believe
The Rocker
You Don't Mess With the Zohan
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Hellboy II
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Baby Mama
The Express
The Strangers
Definitely, Maybe
Eastern Promises
In Bruges
Vantage Point
The Pineapple Express
The International
Walk Hard
We Own the Night
Iron Man
Incredible Hulk
The Simpsons Movie
Live Free or Die Hard
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Death Sentence
Spider-Man 3


RESCUE ME (Drama) Original series
An 18-episode sixth and final season was pre-emptively ordered in February '09.

DAMAGES (Drama) Original series
Picked up for one more 13-episode season

39 additional episodes ordered, to air through 2011.

NIP/TUCK (Drama) Original series
A total of 100 episodes have been ordered. Its last season will air in Fall 2010 or 1st quarter of 2011.


No recent announcements