“Our future is finally here” beamed FX boss John Landgraf at TCA this afternoon about the network’s new home at the Walt Disney Company, and as the network’s new parent gets ready to launch its Disney+ streaming service in November, FX is “cranking up our creative engines to a higher goal than ever before.” However, measure quality, and respect for content creators’ originality remain top priorities.
“Disney has welcomed us, and inspired us,” said Landgraf.
“It should be clear from the number of original programs that we’ve been discussing today, and our slate of scripted programs, FX will increase its output of originals, and this is really important, but we’re going to remain measured in our approach. For some ‘move fast and break things’ seems like a good strategy, but for FX making as much programming as we can, as fast as we can, has never worked. That’s not our philosophy. We’re at our best when we move deliberately, stay focused on our brand, and trying to put every single series through a filter of originality and excellence while providing every creator with a profound level of personal attention and support. Fortunately for us, those goals fall perfectly in line with the culture we found at Disney.”
While Landgraf has often criticized the plethora of programming on Netflix leading to consumer fatigue at past TCAs, he was asked today whether the same would be true given the upcoming boom of streaming services. Will viewers become disinterested with more choices?
“I don’t know that every streaming service will work. I feel pretty good about the ones that are run by the company that we are now a part of. I said we were making making too much television — how long ago was that? — I stand by that statement now. I think what you end up with in those circumstances is an oversupply and then there’s a flight of quality. Rather than jump into the supply, you have to coalesce around the quality,” said Landgraf.
Giving further praise to his new Disney boss, Landgraf pointed to an announcement on the company’s earnings call today: “The Walt Disney Company made some pretty bold decisions as to what it would take to have the best new streaming service. I don’t know if you saw today, they announced that Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+ for $12.99 together, all three, which is $2 less than Netflix. That’s an incredible value.”
Landgraf was also asked about Bob Iger’s comments today on the call about using Hulu to launch FX programs before they air on the linear service. The FX Boss wasn’t ready to expound on any specifics, saying “I can’t elaborate on it. I can concur he did say that. He said repeatedly that FX programming and the FX brand will continue to be made for the FX linear channels and our basic cable networks will begin to support and populate Hulu. He also indicated today, although no decision has been made, that it’s possible that a show that FX made for Hulu could come to FX second, after going to Hulu first, but today I’m not able to talk in detail, I can only talk about the slate we’re doing.”
“I think collectively we’ll be able to give you more insight and clarity as time goes by,” added Landgraf.