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 FX Network: There is No Box

FX Network is a top cable network. FX channel provides highly popular original series and motion pictures. 

Industrial Analysis

History

Programming

FX aspires to be a channel in the vein of HBO and Shotime[1] in that they have edgy programming that pushes the boundaries of basic cable television[2]. Series tend to push boundaries with their language and subject matter. For example, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia deals with drugs, the homeless, racism, and politics among other topics. The Shield deals with corrupt cops, Rescue Me revolves around a group of misogynistic fire fighters, and Nip/Tuck takes place in the in the seedy underbelly of plastic surgery. Also similar to the premium cable of HBO and Shotime is that instead of relying heavily on off-network re-runs, FX fills their schedule with recent movies to which they have first-run rights[3].

FX’s most successful and long-running programs to date have been It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rescue Me, Sons of Anarchy, The Shield, and Nip/Tuck. The Shield and Nip/Tuck both ended in their sixth season after having runs filled with golden globe and emmy nominations. Rescue Me ended its sixth season this past summer. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is currently in its sixth season and Sons of Anarchy is currently in its third season.[4]

Signature Programming

FX, again like HBO and Shotime, aims for a blend of comedic and dramatic shows dealing with a darker subject matter[5]. Signature programming includes the successful series listed above and Terriers, The League, Louie, Archer, and Justified. Currently, FX’s original series are trending towards the comedic with five of their eight series being firmly trenched in the comedy genre. Terriers blends comedy with the detective genre, following two unlicensed private detectives. Rescue Me, one of FX’s dramas, blends drama with dark comedy. FX also seems to be taking an interest in sports-themed shows with it’s current show The League which follows a groups of friends in a fantasy-football league and it’s upcoming show, Light’s Out which follows a former boxing champion and his struggles in life.[6]

Scheduling and Promotional Techniques

FX only has a few apparent scheduling techniques. In 2009, The League premiered following It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Thursday nights[7]. This strategy follows in 2010 in an effort to retain It’s Always Sunny’s audience for The League. The fact that they placed the shows on Thursday may be an effort to piggy-back off of the comedic programming that runs on NBC every Thursday from 8-10 pm. Viewers of the comedies on NBC may find it easy to continue their night of comedy for another hour by simply changing the channel to FX.

FX uses their wide range of movies and off-network re-runs to lead into their original programming. Currently, FX uses Two and a Half Men to lead into their original comedy series. FX began scheduling movies more heavily than off-network re-runs when ratings were poor for off-network re-runs and when it was discovered that movies pull in a younger audience than the re-runs. By utilizing the movies, FX attracts more of the 18-49 target audience and is able to slip in promos for their original programming through the film[8].

FX also features a late-night programming block called Fully Baked. Fully Baked runs Louie, Archer, and its other original comedy series. This is clearly an appeal to a young audience who smokes pot. The programming block seems to say, Up late? High? Why not watch some premium FX comedy? It’s just what you need when you’re baked.

FX’s promotional strategies expand to clips and episodes available for viewing on their website as well as a presence on youtube, myspace, and facebook[9]. They have also performed public stunts such as holding a live rendition of the musical “The Nightman Cometh” from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia[10].

Current Programs on FX

Malcolm in the Middle

The Bernie Mac Show

Two and a half men

Spin City

That 70’s Show

The Practice

Terriers

Lights Out (Premiers January 2011)

The League

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Sons of Anarchy

Louie

Archer

Justified

Rescue Me

30 days (Completed)

Nip/Tuck (Completed)

The Shield (Completed)


References

  1. Umstead, R. Thomas. “A New RX for FX.” Multichannel News. NewBay Media. 8 Feb. 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://www.multichannel.com/article/448033-A_New_Rx_For_FX.php
  2. Rose, Lacey. “At FX There Is Still No Box.” The Biz Blog. Forbes. 18 Jan. 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://blogs.forbes.com/bizblog/2010/01/18/at-fx-there-is-still-no-box/
  3. Umstead, R. Thomas. “A New RX for FX.” Multichannel News. NewBay Media. 8 Feb. 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://www.multichannel.com/article/448033-A_New_Rx_For_FX.php
  4. Amazon. The Internet Movie Database, 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://imdb.com
  5. Umstead, R. Thomas. “A New RX for FX.” Multichannel News. NewBay Media. 8 Feb. 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://www.multichannel.com/article/448033-A_New_Rx_For_FX.php
  6. FX networks. FX Networks, 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://www.fxnetworks.com/
  7. FX networks. FX Networks, 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://www.fxnetworks.com/
  8. Umstead, R. Thomas. “A New RX for FX.” Multichannel News. NewBay Media. 8 Feb. 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://www.multichannel.com/article/448033-A_New_Rx_For_FX.php
  9. FX networks. FX Networks, 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://www.fxnetworks.com/
  10. FX networks. FX Networks, 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://www.fxnetworks.com/