At FX‘s upfront presentation last spring, Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell was a central piece as the late-night show was envisioned as a potential cornerstone for the new comedy-centric network FXX. But, facing stiff competition from broadcast and cable, the Chris Rock-produced show didn’t transition well to the new network after its solid original run on FX, leading to its cancellation. That followed the demise of FX’s other late-night effort, Brand X With Russell Brand. At FX’s upfront presentation last week, there was no mention of late-night. Instead, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said announced that FX and FXX will be doubling their primetime original output from 11 to 20 series during the next year. That involves the relocation of resources to primetime as the network is retreating from late-night, at least for the foreseeable future. “There is less interest in late-night, and that is in part driven by the excellence in the arena,” Landgraf said last week, noting the success with young viewers of such cable hosts as Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and the recent shifts on the broadcast networks, including NBC’s highly rated new tandem of Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, along with Jimmy Kimmel on ABC, soon to be joined by Colbert on CBS. “The late-night race is very competitive to get into,” Landgraf said. “You have to be willing to stay there as a very long investment.”
Instead, network brass have determined that their financial resources are better deployed beefing up primetime. What about Chelsea Handler, who has made herself available after declaring she wanted to leave longtime home E! and has been making the rounds? “We did meet with Chelsea,” Landgraf confirmed, noting that they haven’t decided yet on her proposal. But FX insiders stress that the company is out of the late-night business and will stay that way for a while.
Related: 2014 FX/FXX Pilots