FX is getting split in two with the spinoff network FXX, which will be aimed at a slightly younger audience and also have a greater emphasis on comedy series.
FXX launches today, taking over the Fox Soccer Channel position on many cable systems and three comedy series will migrate to the network: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (new season starts at 10 p.m. Wednesday), The League (10:30 p.m. Wednesday) and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell (becomes a nightly show at 11 p.m. starting Wednesday). Legit will air its second season on FXX in January.
(Fox Movie Channel also becomes FXM, but doesn’t really change that much beyond a shortened name.)
FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said the FXX spinoff is about age and demography.
It is and will be an increasingly challenging environment to have a relevant brand when you think about how potent the broadcast networks are and AMC and Showtime and HBO and now Netflix, he said. If we were going to have multiple channels – and there were a number of reasons why we felt we needed to have multiple channels – we wanted them all to support one brand. We didn’t want to go with a model in which you have AMC, IFC, Sundance and We, who are part of the same group, and all doing, I think, pretty good scripted series at this point, but really nobody would connect them into one brand.
Landgraf said FXX is aimed at young adults, ages 16-34, FX is broader and more focused on adults 16-60 and FXM remains older-skewing, targeting adults 25-60.
You might see FXX might have some content that’s maybe a little bit more in the Comedy Central vein, he said. I do think the spirit of the brand will be the same across (all three networks). Even if you like really challenging, highly original programming, your taste is going to be different when you’re 18 than when you’re 30, than when you’re 45, than when you’re 60. And I think what we hope with our brand is we’ll be able to capture people when they’re young and keep them in our brand as they move through their life.
Landgraf rejected the suggestion that there could be cannibalization of FX by viewers shifting to FXX.
I think there would be cannibalization if we were just taking our existing resources and spreading them out across more shelf space, he said. But we made a decision to double down on our resources.
FX plans to increase its output of scripted series from 13 to 25 over the next few years across FX, FXX and FXM.
We’re going to have ultimately a dozen scripted comedy series, Landgraf said. So we do have to do some backfilling of things that are leaving FX and going to FXX.