FX Networks had been ramping up development, with some dozen pilots ordered in the past year. It is part of a major original expansion. At an upfront press event in New York, CEO John Landgraf said the company will go up from 11 originals to 20 across FX and FXX during the next year. FX Networks’ $750 million acquisition, The Simpsons, will make its debut on FXX in August with 12-day marathon. “It will be the longest continuous marathon in the history of television,” Landgraf said.
On the renewal front, a formal third-season renewal of The Americans is expected soon, he said. “We look forward to it being on our schedule for quite some time,” he said, later adding that he was “confident in the [show’s] long-term prospect.” While the series’ live numbers may have dipped, it has been a DVR growth story. The Americans‘ DVR numbers are “unlike anything I have ever seen,” Landgraf said. “Live viewing is essentially just 20% of whole.”
Landgraf and his team will wait for the seasons of Legit and Chozen to end before making a decision on their future but that would be coming soon. Landgraf also touted the new season of Louie as being “amazing” and upcoming limited series Fargo as being “so good I can’t close the door” on another installment. “If it comes back, it will once again be located in North Dakota or Minnesota but telling a different story with different characters.” However, “the bar is high, it has to be an extraordinarily good story.”
Event series like Fargo will remain on flagship channel FX for the foreseeable future, at least for the next two years. While FX Networks’ plans for rebranded FXM had included theatrical movies as well as miniseries and limited series,”you want [limited series] to be seen by as many people as possible,” Landgraf said. “I want them eventually repositioned on FXM, but they will be incubated on FX.” He used the example of FXX, which started with established series before getting to premiere its first new show, the recently greenlighted Tracy Morgan comedy, in January 2015 — a year and a half after the channel’s launch. Landgraf called producing 10/90 comedy series at twice the pace of a network sitcom “a daunting challenge,” and while the model is yet to produce a hit for the network, it provides “a lot of original programming at a very attractive price,” that makes up for the dearth of off-network offerings.