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.
Overall, FX president and GM John Landgraf said the goal is to have five dramas and seven comedies on the air. The network has five comedies on now, all in FX’s signature, lower-budget mold, and “we are going to add a couple more over time,” he said. In the past several months, there has been “really strong focus on drama with pilots American Horror Story, Powers and Outlaw Country,” with one of them, American Horror Story, already picked up to series, Landgraf said. “That’s the first time we’ve ever made three drama pilots simultaneously, because, as you probably know, since I’ve been at the channel, we’ve made 11 drama pilots, and we’ve picked 10 of them up to series,” he said. “So we don’t have a cycle where we just go make a lot of pilots and then pick one up. If we make a pilot, we’re very, very serious about putting it on the air. And so far what I’ve seen from Powers and Outlaw Country look really good. So I’m optimistic about them too.” The two pilots have been completed, and Landgraf expects to make a decision on them within the next 2-3 months.
In other announcements, Rodgers Media and FX Networks have formed a joint venture to launch a new channel, FX Canada, in early November.