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Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton & Charlie Day Ink Big New 3-Year Deal With FX Prods. That Includes 2-Year Renewal Of ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’, Series Pickup Of Tracy Morgan Comedy, Pilot & Script Orders

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 10:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia masterminds Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton have cemented their status as FX‘s MVPs with a massive new three-year deal at FX Prods for their RCG Prods. It is said to surpass the trio’s previous $50-million three-year rcgdeal with FX, signed in 2011. Like that deal, the new agreement, which will keep the trio at FX until 2017, includes a two-year renewal of Sunny In Philadelphia, which has received 10-episode orders for Season 11 and 12, to not only solidify its status the longest-running live-action comedy series in cable history but also tie My Three Sons for the second-longest-running live-action comedy in television history.

Last year, FX flagship comedy series It’s Always Sunny successfully migrated to FXX, helping to launch the new comedy-focused channel and become its cornerstone program. The upcoming 10th season of Sunny will not launch in the fall as previous ones but unspool in January 2015, paired with RCG’s newest series, a comedy created by McElhenney, Day, Howerton, and Sunny writer Rakhe and starring Tracy Morgan. The untitled project, which has received a 10-episode, straight-to-series order, is not related to Morgan’s FX pilot Do Or Die (aka Death Pact), which is not going forward. RCG will serve as executive producers and showrunners on the series along with with Rakhe. Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, who also exec produced Do Or Die, and Nick Frenkel are executive producers.
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‘Sunny,’ ‘League,’ and ‘Totally Biased’ Populate FXX

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia scored about 757,000 viewers in its season debut on FXX last night at 10 PM – fumbling nearly 300,000 viewers compared to its previous season debut on FX network. But, the show logged 30,000 more 18- to 34-year-old guys than it had with its last season debut on FX, so FXX’s is calling it a win, since that’s the new network’s target audience (it shed 125,000 women 18-34). FX comedies Sunny and The League last night made the move to FXX in order to populate the new comedy network spinoff. In making the move,  The League, at 10:30 PM, gave up about 121,000 viewers, debut to debut — about 22,000 of them men 18-34. FXX is currently available in 26 million fewer homes than is FX. After that, the nightly debut of Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell at 11 PM clocked an average of 183,000 viewers — 90,000 of them in the 18-34 age bracket, which is a 59% retention of that demo compared to the show’s last weekly cycle.

FXX this afternoon noted Sunny and The League outstripped ABC, CBS and NBC from 10-11 PM in adults 18-34 and men 18-34. “To have just launched the channel three days ago and get these ratings is thrilling”, FX Networks and FX Productions CEO John Landgraf said this afternoon. … Read More »

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TCA: ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ Crew Hint They Can Do More Than 10 Seasons

By | Friday August 2, 2013 @ 10:56am PDT

Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

Cast and producers of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia said today that the show’s 10th season will not necessarily be its last. As previously announced, the FX comedy series is moving to the new youth-oriented FXX channel for its ninth season, launching September 4, and before this morning’s TCA panel on the show FX Networks CEO John Landgraf confirmed that a 10th season of episodes has been ordered. In response to a question, executive producer Rob McElhenny said it’s “not for sure” that the quirky comedy will end with the 10th season. “I feel like we’re doing our best work, “ said McElhenny. The fact that each season has had only 10 episodes, he said “allows us to stay fresh and continue to evolve.” Added executive producer Charlie Day: “I don’t think we’ll run out of outrageous things to do … with 10 episodes a season, you don’t run the risk of burning out.” Read More »

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FX’s ‘It’s Always Sunny’, ‘The League’ & ‘Legit’ Renewed, Will Move To FXX

Nellie Andreeva

Three of FX’s comedy series — flagship It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The League and Legitwill help launch new sibling FXX (formerly Fox Soccer), along with late-night show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. Sunny, The League and Legit have been renewed for Season 10, 6 and 2, respectively. Additionally, Totally Biased will expand to five nights a week after it moves to FXX when the network launches September 2. The plan for FXX is to start with four original comedy series and one late-night show. The fourth original comedy will likely come from one of FX’s half-hour pilots, FX president John Landgraf said. Live talk show Brand X With Russell Brand will be moving over to FXX if the show returns for a third season. Langraf said a decision on that would made in the next few months. The new network’s original offerings will go up to six comedy series by the second year and to gradually introduce dramas.

Related: FX Orders Charlie Kaufman Comedy Pilot

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FX’s ‘Sunny’ Likely To Go To Season 10, ‘Anger Management’ To Air 45 Eps A Year, John Landgraf On AMC Showrunner Firings

By | Wednesday January 9, 2013 @ 10:08am PST
Nellie Andreeva

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is the only one of what FX president John Landgraf called the “four cornerstones” of FX (The Shield, Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck and Sunny) that is still on the air. The comedy has already been renewed for a ninth season, and it will likely won’t be the last. “There is a high likelihood for a 10th season,” Landgraf said during the FX portion of TCA this morning. “Whether it goes beyond that depends on whether the people who created the show want to go and whether the audience still wants to watch. But there will definitely be one more year, probably two.”

Landgraf also shed light on FX’s scheduling plans for the back 90 episodes of Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management. “It will stay on the air with no interruption for two years, basically 45 episodes a year,” Landgraf said. That means that, save for major holidays and sports pre-emptions, there will be an original of Anger Management on Thursday night for two years, starting with the Season 2  premiere January 17. The biggest change made following the initial 10 episodes was the addition of Martin Sheen as Charlie Sheen’s father for a multi-generational dimension on the series. Read More »

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FX Picks Up Animated Comedy Series From ‘It’s Always Sunny’ Team With 13-Ep. Order

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: FX has found Archer a buddy. The cable network has given a 13-episode order to Unsupervised (working title), a new animated comedy series, created and executive produced by It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia‘s Rob Rosell, Scott Marder and David Hornsby. The show will premiere in January and will be paired with FX’s existing animated comedy Archer. Unsupervised hails from RCG, the production company of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia masterminds Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton. It is the first series to come out of the $40 million deal RCG signed with FX Prods. last month.

Unsupervised is a comedy about optimistic best friends Gary and Joel navigating the harsh landscape of teenage life and trying to do what’s right without any parental guidance whatsoever. Its voice cast includes Justin Long, Kristen Bell, Romany Malco, Kaitlin Olson and Alexa Vega, along with Rosell and Hornsby. “Having worked with David, Rob and Scott for many years on Sunny, it gives us great pleasure to see them make their own stamp on FX,” said FX’s EVP Nick Grad. “Unsupervised is a great addition to our comedy roster and, like all of our comedies, it’s smart and really funny.” Unsupervised is produced by FX Prods, in association with RCG Prods and Floyd County. The series will be animated by Archer executive producers Adam Reed and Matt Thompson. It marks the second series for Hornsby, … Read More »

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TCA: ‘Sunny’ Creators On Breaking The Network Model, Longevity, ‘Office’ Influence

Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.

It was announced earlier today at TCA that FX’s comedy Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been renewed for two more seasons to become the longest-running live-action comedy on basic cable, with creators/executive producers Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day’s company signed to a production deal valued at $40 million-$50 million. It caps a remarkable rise for the trio who, as struggling young actors, walked into FX with a $200 video they had shot in their backyard that was inspired by the British Office, which they though looked very cheaply shot with 2 cameras. “They had no experience, literally no experience writing, no experience producing or directing or doing anything, but they were talented and ambitious and eager to learn,” FX president John Ladgraf said earlier, noting that McElhenney didn’t quit his job as a waiter until Season 2.  “And what they needed was a little bit of structure, a little bit of support, and somebody to believe in them.” Day gave FX credit “for looking at a group of young guys who weren’t in television, but we’re just young actors who had an idea for a television show, and trusting their ability to create their vision, as opposed to, you know, forcing us to work with a senior showrunner who had done a million generic sitcoms, or something.  So, you know, you have to give credit to FX for letting … Read More »

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TCA: FX Renews ‘Wilfred’, ‘Louie’ & ‘Sunny’, Inks $50 Million Deal With ‘Sunny’ Creators

By | Saturday August 6, 2011 @ 9:09am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

FX has renewed three comedy series. Elijah Wood starrer Wilfred, which has become the highest-rated first-season comedy on the network with a cumulative 5 million viewers a week, has been picked up a second season of 13 episodes. Louie, which just landed an Emmy nomination for star Louis CK and has averaged 3 million viewers a week, has been renewed for a third season of 13 episodes. Meanwhile, veteran It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia has been renewed for two more seasons — Seasons 8 and 9 — to become the longest-running live-action comedy on basic cable. The network also has an option for a 10th season, FX president John Landgraf said, adding that the show seems to have gotten a second wind in Season 7. Additionally, FX Prods. has signed a three-year exclusive deal with RCG, the production company of Sunny masterminds Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton. I hear the deal is worth $40 million-$50 million for all services. “With Sunny, FX and FX Prods. and RCG reinvented the production model for television comedies,” Landgraf said. “In embracing a low‑cost production model and taking less money upfront, Rob, Glenn, and Charlie were afforded more creative freedom, a true financial partnership, and less pressure on ratings so there was time to let the show find an audience. Sunny not only became a hit, but the cornerstone of FX’s successful comedy brand, establishing a production model that has become favored by many in the creative community and has led to Archer, Louie, The League and Wilfred.” In addition to Sunny, RCG is involved in the new CBS comedy series How To Be a Gentleman, created by and starring Sunny player David Hornsby, and has two comedy projects in the works: Fox’s Living Loaded and FX’s animated Townies. Read More »

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2011 Comic-Con: ‘Always Sunny In Philly’

Deadline Comic-Con TV corresondent Gary Hodges files:

One of the last panels of the day in Hall H was It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX) started a bit late, pushed back by panels like Doctor Who (BBC America) and The Cleveland Show (FOX) that had run a bit long. Nobody seemed to care: Always Sunny has been well-received by the Comic-Con crowd in the past, and this year was no exception. It opened with a screening of an episode from the upcoming season, “Frank’s Pretty Woman.” In it, Frank has a new “girlfriend”: a prostitute named Roxy. The gang is horrified; Charlie asks “You’re dating a prostitute?” “Not for long,” says Frank. “I’m going to make that whore my wife!”

From there the show splits into a few different directions: Charlie wants to help Frank realize he doesn’t have to pay for companionship, Dennis and Mac explore life treating their bodies however they like (Mac has gotten fat, and Dennis misses crack terribly after his brief experiences with it), and Dee tries to reform Roxy, but begins to see the hooker’s life as glamorous. Without spoiling anything, the highlights would include Charlie projectile vomiting what looks like thick geysers of blood into people’s faces, Mac – diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes – giving himself insulin shots in his fat belly as he eats chimichangas, and Frank’s proposal to Roxy: “Roxy, you are good shit, but I want to make this legit.” Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman plays over the end credits, in a scene that’s both deranged and hysterical.

The cast then … Read More »

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EMMYS: 2011 Comedy Series Overview

Competition for Emmy nominations among this year’s Outstanding Comedy Series contestants is no laughing matter. The showdown between two 20th Century TV hits is more intense than ever, with Modern Family showrunners Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd trying to score their second consecutive Emmy win, while Glee executive producer Ryan Murphy is hoping to edge them out. That is, if one or more of a duo of up-and-comers — Community or Parks and Recreation — don’t act as spoilers. Then again, past Emmy stalwarts 30 Rock or The Office could resurface. Or Showtime’s bold, female-skewing dramedies Nurse Jackie or newbie The Big C might seize the spotlight. And don’t rule out the possibility of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory finally scoring a nod in its fourth season, or How I Met Your Mother receiving recognition in its sixth. And then there are the underdogs. As The Middle’s co-showrunner Eileen Heisler (with DeAnn Heline) says about ABC’s Wednesday night lineup, “We’re really grateful to Modern Family for bringing attention to family shows. We’ve benefi tted from their success, but I think it takes a little longer for people to realize the next door neighbor in The Middle is edgy and wry.”

If Modern Family does repeat, no ABC sitcom has managed that feat since Taxi more than 30 years ago. Of course, NBC’s won three years running. And Frasier took home a record five in succession between 1994 and 1998. So it can be done. But that doesn’t mean Modern Family’s Christopher Lloyd thinks it’s a shoo-in. “Among certain segments of the blogosphere who first anointed the show that everybody is supposed to be watching, there’s another rush to declare that it stinks now. And then there will be others who’ll want to say ‘I told you so’ when it wins again.”

There’s general agreement it would take a miracle for any freshman broadcast network comedy to crash this year’s top comedy series’ Emmy party, with the possible exception of Fox’s Raising Hope. Though there’s a sliver of daylight for a newbie cable show like The Big C, despite the fact it’s a dramedy. Cable continues to make inroads in the comedy series categories, evidenced by Showtime’s Nurse Jackie capturing eight Emmy nominations last year, including one for top comedy; with Showtime’s Weeds as well as HBO’s Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm landing series nods in recent years. This year, TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland has Emmy buzz. But only one cable comedy has ever won: HBO’s Sex and the City in 2001.

Here’s our assessment of the chances for this year’s comedy series in alphabetical order:

Although the NBC hitcom’s three-year winning streak ended last year (done in by ABC’s freshman breakout, Modern Family), it remains an industry darling — with good reason. While not as consistent as its earlier seasons, its comedy quality never seems to wane. So, without ever actually going away, it could be primed for a comeback. But the show, which celebrated its 100th episode this season, may also be mistakenly placed in the “been there, done that” category, even with red-hot writer/producer/actress/author Tina Fey at the helm (the recent Tracy Morgan scandal notwithstanding). But if the Academy revisits NBC’s quirky workplace comedies, they just might opt for the newer Parks and Recreation or Community.

As popular as this CBS smash is, it has yet to be Emmy nominated despite originality in its scripts and ensemble. Kudos to the producers for broadening the cast this season and stepping up the romance for Mayim Bialik’s and Melissa Rauch’s roles, especially after Jim Parsons was acknowledged as last year’s Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series winner for nerd-chic hilarity. If you’re going to vote for a Chuck Lorre show this year, this one’s decidedly less baggage-laden than Two and a Half Men, which lost its Sheen.

With lead Laura Linney considered a shoo-in for an Emmy nod, a side effect is that her show’s chances of breaking into the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy race likely increases as well. Question is, did they increase enough? Is the TV Academy ready to honor a dark comedy centering on a woman’s battle with cancer? Perhaps it’s time. If so, there could be two Showtime noms in this category for the first time, assuming Nurse Jackie repeats. Says showrunner Jenny Bicks, “It’s not going to be an easy fight for us.”

Forever floating on the renewal bubble (it will live on for a fifth and final short season of 13 episodes next season), Chuck has a well-earned reputation as The Little Show that Could. But, plucky as it is, the unlikely spy yarn remains a significant Emmy long-shot. Besides, NBC already has a couple of potential sleeper contenders at the ready in Parks and Recreation and Community.

What is arguably NBC’s most innovative comedy shoots high creatively but has yet to land commensurate ratings. Critics, however, have been quick to sing the show’s praises, perhaps loudly enough to help get it noticed by Emmy voters. Remember when Fox’s Arrested Development used critical praise to trump low viewership? Showrunner Dan Harmon likens Community’s comedy to “Krispy Kreme — we just have to get it into people’s mouths.” Or, in the case of Academy voters, into their DVD players.

In its second season, the wine-soaked “Friends for grownups” really came into its own as an ensemble comedy rather than just a Courteney Cox vehicle. And it’s even poking fun at the icky title that long ago ceased to have anything to do with the series premise. Nonetheless, it’s probably not ABC’s Wednesday night show with the most heat in this comedy category because of Modern Family.

This back-to-fi rst-base comedy about a washed-up baseball player enjoys the prestige of HBO and the marquee value of Will Ferrell as a producer. But it’s perhaps too raunchy for older TV Academy voters. Given that producer-star Danny McBride says this forthcoming third season will be its last, Eastbound & Down likely will strike out Emmy-wise.

After landing nominations in the top comedy category for three years running, HBO’s Hollywood insider send-up didn’t make the cut the last go-round. If shut out again, it’s because Academy voters have moved on from an aging series that returns for its shortened eighth and final season on July 24th. It didn’t help when news leaked out in May that HBO pulled it from broadcast syndication by Warner Bros Domestic TV.

If the television industry’s insiders love anything more than laughing, it’s laughing at itself (see 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm). And there’s been buzz about how this Showtime Brits-out-of-water comedy reinvented Matt LeBlanc. But, even if he might, the series probably doesn’t have a high enough profile yet to garner an Emmy nod.

In 2009, the Fox show that wouldn’t die became the first animated series in nearly half a century to win an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. But it was shut out the very next year. So expect the next TV Academy recognition for Family Guy around 2060. One question mark is whether the toon’s unique in-your-face way of campaigning for Emmy helps or hurts to sway voters. Then again, this is the comedy series category.
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Comedy Central/MTV Networks’ Comedy Awards Announce Nominations

Nellie Andreeva

Comedy Central and MTV networks just announced the nominations for their inaugural Comedy Awards, which will air on April 10. The nominations span 15 categories in TV and film, including best comedy series and film. The best comedy series field includes awards favorites 30 Rock, The Office and Modern Family, along with largely overlooked off-beat comedies It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Eastbound & Down. 30 Rock leads the TV categories with seven noms. The film field is led by Easy A, Cyrus and Kick-Ass with four noms each, including best movie where they will face Get Him to the Greek and The Other Guys. Read More »

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CABLE RATINGS RAT RACE: High Start For FX’s ‘It’s Always Sunny’ & ‘The League’

Nellie Andreeva

How often does a scripted series hit an all-time ratings high in Season 6? Well, FX’s comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia just did it with its sixth season premiere last night. Also breaking series records was the network’s comedy The League, which opened its second season behind Sunny. At 10 PM, Sunny delivered 1.83 million adults 18-49 and 1.46 million adults 18-34, up 3% from the previous series demo highs posted by last season’s premiere. In the male demographics, the gains from the Season 5 premiere were bigger, 16% in Men 18-34 (1.01 million) and 11% in Men 18-49 (1.24 million), both all-time series highs. The total viewership, 2.21 million, was was off  by 1% in Live+same day but is expected to be a series best when Live+7 data is factored in.

Season two premiere of The League at 10:30 PM was up 76% in Adults 18-49 (1.38 million), 63% in Adults 18-34 (994,000) and 72% in total viewers (1.71 million) from its debut last year, with series highs across the board. It retained 77% of the Sunny in Philadelphia’s lead-in in total viewers and 76% in 18-49.

That’s certainly great news for FX, which also is enjoying ratings success with Sons of Anarchy but its new PI drama Terriers has been a ratings disappointment. After its low-rated premiere last week that drew a 0.5 rating in 18-49, Episode 2 on Wednesday fell even further to 0.4.

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TCA: No Plans For Character Development On ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’

By | Tuesday August 3, 2010 @ 3:01pm PDT

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

During a Tuesday afternoon panel with two of the three creator-producer-stars of the FX comedy hit It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a critic asked if the immature personalities who populate the series that’s going into its sixth season in September were ever going to show anything resembling character development. With all due respect. Co-creator Rob McElhenney admitted that while evolution is ongoing, there is no immediate plan to have them develop at anything resembling an accelerated rate. “The older we get, the sadder it it. And the sadder it is, the funnier it is,” he figures.

The show is planning to address some genuine issues for the coming season, however — like gay marriage. “We’ll do gay marriage, and sometimes we do dick jokes,” McElhenney said, “and we feel like there’s a happy medium there.” The medium has resulted in a series that started modestly in 2005 and has seen its ratings rise each season since, along with the stature of its stars. “It’s much harder for me to just sit in an airport at the gate without it being a whole thing,” admitted co-creator Glenn Howerton. “It tells me how much people are watching and enjoying the show.”

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FX Sets Fall Premiere Dates

Nellie Andreeva

fx_logo_150FX is taking a jump on fall season, rolling out its fall premieres in the two weeks before the broadcast networks unleash their new/returning series. Biker drama Sons of Anarchy returns for Season 3 on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 10 PM, while new PI comedic drama Terriers, from Ted Griffin and Shawn Ryan, will make its debut the following night, Sept. 8, at 10 PM. I’m curious to see how a lighter procedural, a genre that is so hot in cable via USA and now TNT and A&E, will do on FX, probably the grittiest basic cable brand in the hourlong arena. As for comedies, Season 6 of the channel’s veteran It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia premieres Thursday, Sept. 16, at 10 PM, followed by the second season debut of The League at 10:30 PM.

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