Lost ad revenue is the biggest threat to the cable industry, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf told TV critics this morning. Sons Of Anarchy, he noted, averaged more than 5 million demo viewers in Live +7, but only 2 million who watched live and only 3 million who watched the ads. “We need to find new opportunities to mitigate those losses,” he warned. FXNow, an ad-supported on demand service offering FX Networks’ programming, “will allow us to begin rebuilding our advertising business,” Landgraf said.
Also critical: stacking rights, he said. Loosely translated: the rights to make available to viewers all current-season episodes of a series on VOD or authenticated streaming. Those stacking rights are “absolutely vital” he said. “People have been talking about the promise of TV Everywhere for a long time now… It’s been a jerky-jerky process but I’m confident that the industry has achieved the key breakthrough. I think a year or two from now people will really have access to a lot of content.” He noted “ownership of content has bailed us out,” in an evolving advertising universe, acknowleding “It’s a nice thing to have long-tail revenue that undergirds a more volatile thing like advertising sales.”
Landgraf thinks the next season of American Horror Story probably will be another period piece and most of the Coven cast will be back. “Ultimately I’m waiting for Ryan [Murphy] to tell me” what’s going to happen. Other than that, he’s not sure what the next season of one of his most important franchises has in store. Read More »
Once upon a time, the entire TV industry took the afternoon off to attend the Hollywood Radio and TV Society season-kickoff lunch and watch their bosses admit which competitor’s show they most wished they had on their schedule and answer other similarly adorable questions. It was a simpler time. These days, the mood onstage is much darker. One exec makes some all-flesh-is-as-grass observation about the state of the industry; another agrees there is a resemblance. And then, there’s the traffic. In case you missed it, here are the quotes to note from today’s lunch:
*Good time to be a comedy producer: “There are 168 dramas in production. Anybody who knows how to run a [drama] show is employed. There isn’t anybody left in development. … It’s fully cooked.” — FX Networks CEO John Landgraf
*Netflix: “I didn’t know there was an option for not reporting ratings.” — HBO programming president Michael Lombardo
*Why NBC is dumping Jay Leno: “Jay is going out on top, and we think that’s the right thing to do.” — NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert
*Anti-hero dramas are so over: “A show can’t just rest on an anti-hero premise anymore. … A pitch that’s ‘this guy is the most fucked-up guy’ is not good enough.” — Lombardo
*Kevin Spacey should shove a sock in it: “[House Of Cards] had a star and a director and scripts for the first two episodes, and they had a show that they were basing it on. … I understand why artists don’t want to audition with a plot…[but, unless you're "House of Cards," minus a pilot] good shows could be prevented from being great shows — Lombardo Read More »
FX is turning up the heat as Emmy voting kicks into high gear with a large campaign war chest designed to show off their prime contenders American Horror Story, which leads all shows with a whopping 17 nominations in the movie/miniseries categories, and Louie which nabbed 6 nods including Best Comedy Series. Last Friday FX and Fox TV threw a summer barbeque and cast and crew conversation on the Fox lot for American Horror Story Asylum, and last night FX rented out the TV Academy’s Goldenson Theatre for a screening of Louie and a rollicking on-stage conversation with Louis C.K. and moderator, comedian David Steinberg. The place was packed to the rafters, presumably with Emmy voters though in this phase of voting members sign up for specific panels and at-home viewing, so exactly how many of the 600 or so who crowded into the theatre can actually help the Emmy chances of Louie is questionable.
None of that seems to matter to FX President John Landgraf who told me at the lavish post-reception the hefty outlay of funds for billboards, trade and newspaper ads and events like this is worth it, not only because they might be hitting some of those relatively few mystery voters (he estimates there could be about 1000-plus who vote for Best Comedy Series) but also to make a public and industry statement that FX is indeed a major player now in the Emmys and proud of their shows. Certainly AHS which also nabbed 17 nominations last year too and Louie would seem to confirm that. Incidentally FXX, the brand new spinoff network is the broadcast partner for the Academy’s Creative Arts Primetime Emmy show this year and Landgraf is glad they landed it. Read More »
With The Shield, FX was one of the first networks to introduce the proverbial anti-hero that has taken over cable drama in the past decade. Asked today how much darker cable dramas can go, FX CEO John Landgraf, giving a nod to David Chase for starting the trend with The Sopranos, said, “I can’t imagine a protagonist darker than (Breaking Bad‘s) Walter White. That’s the end of the road for out-darking each other — this nuclear arms race of darkness has ended.”
Related: TCA: Billy Bob Thornton Cast In FX’s ‘Fargo’
Landgraf confirmed what Guillermo del Toro said when FX greenlighted a pilot for The Strain — that the project will have a limited run spanning three to five seasons. The Strain series, based on del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire novel trilogy, will produce “39-65 episodes, no less, no more,” Landgraf said, adding “What if a television show could be just the length that is optimal for that story?” The Strain‘s order is technically for a pilot but has a writing staff that has completed five scripts already, and a series pickup is considered a formality. Also pretty certain — a second season renewal for freshman drama The Bridge, with Landgraf touting ist story trajectory.
Landgraf also further discussed the plans for the FX brand expansion with the upcoming launch of FXX and rebranding of FXM. Read More »
FX won’t be ordering more episodes of Brand X With Russell Brand, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said at a press conference today. The network will stay in business with the actor, picking up a … Read More »
FX Networks and FX Prods. President and General Manager John Landgraf has been promoted to CEO. I hear as part of the promotion, Landgraf has signed a new multi-year contract to remain at the helm of the two, soon to be three FX-branded networks as well as sibling FX Prods., which he launched. “John’s integrity, creativity and leadership have made FX a home for fearless writers, actors and directors,” said Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO, Fox Networks Group, to whom Landgraf will continue to report. “He has also formed a close-knit team of exceptional executives who are together enjoying an amazing run of creative and business success.” As CEO, Landgraf will have oversight over all aspects of entertainment and business operations for FX Networks, which is comprised of FX, FXM (formerly Fox Movie Channel), the soon-to-launch comedy focused FXX, as well as FX Prods. In addition to FX Networks and FXP, Landgraf will be responsible for FX Networks’ digital video-on-demand platform, FXNOW. Read More »
At its upfront presentation, FX brass confirmed the launch of a third FX-branded entertainment network, FXX, and an expansion of FXM (movie channel). FXX, expected to take over Fox Soccer Channel, will be available in 74 million homes and will launch September 2. The expansion across the three FX networks will be supported by a big increase in original programming. FX president John Landgraf projected that FX would double its original offerings to 25 original series within the next few years to achieve parity with ABC, NBC and CBS.
As part of the new FXX, the network today also renewed three FX comedy series — flagship It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The League and Legit — that will help launch FXX, along with late-night show Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, which will expand to five nights a week when it moves to the new network 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. 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 Read More »
FX‘s drama pipeline is busier than ever with four pilots in addition to the newly picked up cold war spy drama The Americans which premieres on Jan. 30. It will be joined by one more new drama … Read More »
Like every other network executive who has taken the stage at this TCA press tour, FX president John Landgraf this morning was asked about the possible link between onscreen violence and the rise of mass … Read More »
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 »
(WARNING: STORY CONTAINS SPOILERS) The status of American Horror Story leads Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott and the Golden Globe-nominated Jessica Lange remains in flux in the wake of the FX horror hour’s season one finale last night. But if … Read More »
Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter should be in a better mood today then Friday, when he spewed venom at bloggers in a Twitter rant. Halfway through SOA‘s fourth season, FX this morning renewed Sutter’s hit biker drama for a … Read More »
FX president and general manager John Landgraf has renewed his contract with the basic cable network for three more years. Landgraf has been at FX for 7 1/2 years, joining the cable network after a stint as president of Jersey … Read More »
Before they co-created Fox’s Glee, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk were executive producers on FX’s Nip/Tuck, which Murphy created. Now the two are returning to the cable channel with American Horror Story, a drama project that was just ordered to … Read More »
UPDATED: At the opening of FX’s executive session, president John Landgraf announced a 13-episode second season pickup of Louis C.K.’s new comedy series Louie five weeks into the show’s freshman run. Additionally, FX has greenlighted Alabama, a comedy pilot co-created and starring Reno 911! masterminds Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. The … Read More »