EMMYS: John Landgraf Calls For Tougher Category Rules, Says ‘True Detective’s Entry As Drama Series “Unfair”

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 9:53am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

FX Networks CEO John Landgraf today threw his hat in the debate over what constitutes a drama series and a miniseries for Emmy consideration and whether an hourlong series american_horror_story_coven_cast_a_lcan enter as a comedy, challenging the TV Academy to stiffen its criteria and create stricter category guidelines.

FX anthology series American Horror Story shook up the Emmy landscape three years ago when it opted to submit itself as a miniseries, not a drama series. The race was jolted again this year when HBO’s True Detective took the opposite stance, identifying itself as a drama series. “In our minds this is a series, and the only reason to enter it as a miniseries was a cynical reason that didn’t feel like the right thing to do,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Deadline last week.

2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 6Landgraf today defended the network’s decision to submit AHS as a miniseries, objected to HBO’s decision to have True Detective compete as drama series, and called on the TV Academy to better define its categories. “I don’t think it’s cynical to enter AHS as a miniseries,” he said. “I don’t look at it that way. The definition should be a miniseries has a story that ends, a series has a story that continues on.” Landgraf argued that limited series have the advantage to attract bigger-caliber actors, like True Detective‘s Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as well as Billy Bob Thornton who toplines FX’s limited series Fargo. Emmyslogo_new“It’s unfair for HBO to get actors that you can’t normally get to do a series who would do a close-ended show and pack the (drama actor) category. That is patently unfair to people like (The Americans’) Matthew Rhys who signed for seven years.” Right now, TV Academy defines shows like AHS and True Detective as having “dual eligibility,” with the series producers left to decide in which of the two categories they are eligible for they would compete.

Related: FX & FXX To Double Original Output, ‘Simpsons’ To Debut On FXX With A Bang, ‘Americans’ Nears Season 3 Renewal

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FX & Sky Ink Development Deal For New Comedy Series

By | Thursday March 20, 2014 @ 6:50am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

fxlogo1__130919165223-200x110__131105211930Under the two-year agreement, Sky and FX Networks will co-fund and co-develop half-hour scripted comedy projects. If any of them are picked up to series, the shows would air on Sky1 HD or Sky Read More »

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FX Picks Up Andrew Gurland Comedy Pilot & ‘You’re The Worst’ To Series

By | Friday January 24, 2014 @ 12:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

fxlogo1FX Networks, which is making a big push in comedy with nine half-hour pilots, has picked up two of them – Married (formerly know as the untitled Andrew Gurland) and You’re The Worst – to series with 10-episode orders for a July debut on the flagship channel FX. “Married and You’re The Worst represent the continuing expansion of our comedy brand. They are smart, funny and adult,” FX’s Nick Grad said. The two shows, from FX Prods., also delve in marriage and romantic relationships, an area FX had largely stayed away from until now, focusing on more male-oriented fare. Read More »

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Louis CK Inks Overall Deal With FX Productions For New Series

By | Tuesday December 3, 2013 @ 9:30am PST
Nellie Andreeva

FX Networks is making it clear it wants to stay in the Louis CK business. The network already has Louis CK’sLouisCK2 acclaimed comedy series  Louie, produced by FX Productions. Now FX Prods. has inked an overall deal … Read More »

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FXX Lands ‘The Simpsons’ In Biggest Off-Network Deal In TV History

By | Friday November 15, 2013 @ 9:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Simpsons FXX Record DealTwenty-four seasons into its run, The Simpsons is finally headed to cable. In a competitive situation with five networks bidding, FXX has landed the exclusive cable as well as VOD/non-linear rights to the longest-running comedy series in TV history. The deal also is set to make TV history as the priciest off-network pact ever, expected to fetch at least $750 million, and the first one to include full digital rights. The enormous size of the deal — which some say could potentially reach $1 billion if the series keeps producing new seasons — stems from the staggering volume of Simpsons episodes available: 530 when the show starts airing on FXX in August 2014 and growing to 574 by September 2015. At the start, FXX will have access to the first 24 seasons, with another season added when it gets off-circulation on Fox, which recently greenlighted a 26th season. For instance, Season 25 will become available on FXX when Season 26 premieres on Fox next September.

Exact terms of the deal have not been disclosed but insiders estimate that FXX would be paying about $1.25 million per week, with the length of the agreement said to be about a decade (at least eight years, possibly 10). “The Simpsons is indisputably one of the greatest shows in television history,” said FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. “This was a very long, hard and complicated negotiation and I credit the relentlessness and diligence of Chuck Saftler for getting it done.” Said FX Networks COO Saftler, “Woo Hoo!” He called the back-and-forth “the longest negotiations that I am aware of for an off-network series” that took a month from the first offer to sealing a “landmark” deal. “This is a historic deal for FXX and FX Networks and I don’t believe there will ever be another one like it,” Saftler said. Besides the sheer volume, unprecedented is the granting of full VOD/non-linear rights to a cable network in conjunction with an off-network agreement, which normally gives nets rolling 5-6 episodes. In this case, FXNOW, the soon-to-be-launched authenticated mobile viewing app of FX Networks, will offer all seasons of The Simpsons that are available on FXX. As for that staggering volume of 574 episodes and counting? While a typical syndicated show that has produced 100 episodes is on a 5-week repeat cycle — meaning that the cable network goes through all of the episodes in 5 weeks after which it starts again from the pilot — it will be months and months before The Simpsons will have to repeat an episode on FXX, giving it a feel of an original run. Saftler expects The Simpsons to expand FXX’s “reach and frequency,” broadening its audience to include everyone from today’s teenagers who watch the show on Fox, to their parents who were teenagers when the show first premiered. Because of the virtual lack of repeats, he expects fans to check back often.

It took two decades, but The Simpsons producer 20th Century Fox TV had pretty good timing when it finally took The Simpsons to the cable marketplace. Several years ago, 21st Century Fox COO Chase Carey suggested that the company could launch a Simpsons cable channel (the volume of the Simpsons library could sustain that). Instead, the longest-running scripted series will serve as a backbone of another upstart Fox cable network, FXX. Given the benefits an asset like The Simpsons provides, FXX went very aggressively after the property in an already competitive marketplace. The network had been considered the frontrunner from the get-go with its vast shelf space that can easily accommodate a 600-episode off-network series and properly run and amortize it, something established cable networks with a full dance card of syndicated fare would find harder to do. That, combined with the financial windfall for 20th TV is making observers call the deal a “win-win” for both sides, and the ideal scenario parent 21 Century Fox had been hoping for. “The Simpsons long ago crossed over from ‘brilliant award-winning comedy series’ to ‘full-fledged cultural phenomenon,’ and this landmark deal is a testament to its enduring power and relevance,” said 20th TV chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden. Read More »

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FX Acquires ‘Thor: The Dark World’, ‘Gravity’ & ‘Captain Phillips’

By | Monday November 11, 2013 @ 12:18pm PST

FX continues to bolster its library of theatrical hits, acquiring the TV rights to Gravity (Warner Bros), Captain Phillips (Sony) and this past weekend’s box-office topper Thor: The Dark World (Disney). It also has … Read More »

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FX Sets January Premiere Dates For ‘Justified’, ‘Archer’ & ‘Chozen’

By | Tuesday November 5, 2013 @ 1:21pm PST

FX has confirmed January premiere dates for drama Justified, animated comedy Archer and new animated comedy Chozen. Chozen had been scheduled to run on FXX but now will be paired with Archer for a … Read More »

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ExxonMobil Sues FX To Protect Its Brand From Funny Shows

By | Thursday October 3, 2013 @ 9:14am PDT

ExxonMobil Corp has sued FX Networks over its use of the second “X” in its new, comedy-centric network which, the oil company says, infringes on its interlocking XX’s. This double-cross brawl may come as a surprise to Dos Equis (that’s Spanish for “Two X”), which also has a double-X logo, and we assume the legal wrangling will be be watched with considerable interest by the XX chromosome, and the roman numeral for 20.

What has world’s largest publicly traded oil company ExxonMobil’s knickers so knotted is the interlocking-ness of FXX‘s “X’s” in its logo. “ExxonMobil has invested many millions of dollars for more than four decades in advertising and promoting” the logo, David Beck, ExxonMobil’s attorney, said in the filing today in U.S. District Court in Houston, a copy of which was obtained by Deadline (read it here).  FX Networks and its studio affiliates, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. launched FXX network, and its offending logo, just last month. The network refused to drop the interlocking Xs when the oil company requested the change, according to the complaint. Because we are nitpickers: ExxonMobil’s logo features double-X’s that descend from left to right, while FXX’s logo ascends from left to right. Still, ExxonMobil served up examples of web postings, from such notables as GungHo, The Enchanted Goatee and JT_Kirk, decrying FXX’s effort to confuse TV viewers. Read More »

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FX Rounds Out Cast For Toxic-Romance Comedy ‘You’re The Worst’

By | Thursday September 19, 2013 @ 9:45am PDT

FX Networks has locked the cast for its romantic comedy pilot You’re The Worst. Created and written by Stephen Falk, You’re The Worst centers on two toxic, self-destructive people who fall in love and attempt … Read More »

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UPDATE: FX Networks Ups Stephanie Gibbons To President Of Marketing & On-Air Promotions

By | Thursday August 1, 2013 @ 11:03am PDT

Stephanie Gibbons‘ new role at FX Networks will see her oversee the creation and implementation of all print and electronic marketing and advertising campaigns for FX, FXM and the new network FXX, which debuts September 2. As President of Marketing and On-Air Promotions, she will also spearhead all off-network and cross-channel platform marketing initiatives for FX Networks through Internet, mobile, VOD and other alternate media. She will continue to report to FX Networks and FX Productions CEO John Landgraf. Gibbons and her team have won numerous marketing awards since she joined FX in 2004, creating campaigns for The Shield, Rescue Me and Nip/Tuck, and later American Horror Story, The Americans, Sons Of Anarchy, Justified, Archer, Louie, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The League, Wilfred, Legit and Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell. She launched FX’s first branding campaign “There Is No Box” and the latest initiative “Fearless”, and helped relaunch FXNetworks.com. Read More »

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Fox’s Diverse Writers Program Sets Winner

By | Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 8:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Writer-director Yule Caise has been selected as this year’s Fox Writers Intensive Fellow. Chosen from the sophomore class of 10 FWI finalists, Caise has inked a development deal with FX Networks, in conjunction with Fox Broadcasting Co and 20th Century Fox Television, and will pitch a new original script to FX. In addition, Fox will award Caise’s referring organization, the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, a $15,000 FWI grant to be earmarked for its writing program. In addition to Caise, the sophomore FWI class included finalists Angela Allen, Sal Calleros, Carol Doyle, Sara Endsley, Warren Hsu Leonard, Nick Ozeki, Chitra Sampath, Theo Travers and Marisa Wegrzyn. Following their completion of the FWI, all of the finalists are being submitted for potential staffing on Fox entertainment productions. To date, six of the 10 FWI finalists have been staffed on series for the 2013-14 season, including Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and Raising Hope, Showtime’s House Of Lies and ABC’s Killer Women and Influence. Read More »

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FX Greenlights Comedy Pilot From Simon Rich & Broadway Video

By | Wednesday June 19, 2013 @ 9:05am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: FX Networks has given a pilot order to Man Seeking Woman, a half-hour comedy pilot from former Saturday Night Live writer/humorist/novelist Simon Rich and Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video. The project,  based on Rich’s book The Last Girlfriend On Earth, is described as a sweet, surreal, and bitingly funny look at the life and death stakes of dating in New York City. Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia, SNL) is set to direct the pilot from a script by Rich. The two are executive producing with Broadway Video for FX Prods. If Man Seeking Woman goes to series, it will make 28-year-old Rich one of the youngest series creators ever. He already is one of the youngest writers in the history of SNL, where he spent four seasons from 2007-2011 before segueing to a writing job at Pixar Studios. Rich, son of former New York columnist Frank Rich, was still an undergraduate at Harvard, where he edited The Harvard Lampoon, when he landed a two-book deal at Random House, His first book, Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations, was nominated for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. His first novel, Elliot Allagash, was optioned by Jason Reitman. The Last Girlfriend On Earth, Rich’s fifth book, was published in January. Man Seeking Woman joins two other comedy pilots at FX Networks, which is ramping up comedy development ahead of the fall launch of comedy-centric FXX: the Tracy Morgan-starrer Death Pact and the Andrew Gurland project. Read More »

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FX Networks Executives Nick Grad, Eric Schrier & Chuck Saftler Get President Titles

By | Thursday June 6, 2013 @ 11:25am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

On the heels of John Landgraf’s promotion to CEO of FX Networks; FX Prods., his top lieutenants are getting elevated to president level. Nick Grad and Eric Schrier have each been named President, Original Programming for FX … Read More »

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FX Orders Charlie Kaufman Comedy Pilot

By | Thursday March 28, 2013 @ 7:48am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

FX Networks has greenlighted How And Why, a half-hour comedy pilot from Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman. It tells the story of a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works, but is clueless about … Read More »

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