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FX (standing for Fox extended, suggesting "effects") is an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group division of News Corporation. In addition to the flagship U.S. network, the "FX" name is licensed to a number of related pay television channels outside of the United States. FX's programming is primarily original series (which are stylized similarly to those seen on premium channels such as HBO and Showtime, in regards to profanity, sexual and violent content), theatrically released feature films and acquired television programs originally seen on network television.
FX (then-stylized in print as "fX") was launched in the United States on June 1, 1994. Broadcasting from a large "apartment" in Manhattan's Flatiron District, fX was one of the first forays into large-scale interactive television. The channel centered around original programming, broadcast live every day from the "fX Apartment", and rebroadcasts of classic TV shows from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s such as Batman, Wonder Woman, Nanny and the Professor, and The Green Hornet. fX had two taglines: "TV Made Fresh Daily" and "The World's First Living Television Network". The "f" was lower-case to portray a type of relaxed friendliness. The stylized "X" represented the channel's roots: the crossing searchlights of the 20th Century Fox logo.
The live shows were mostly focused on one broad topic each. Shows included Personal fX (collectibles), The Pet Department (pets), Under Scrutiny with Jane Wallace (news), and Sound fX (music). The channel's flagship show, Breakfast Time (hosted by Laurie Hibberd and Tom Bergeron), was formatted like an informal magazine show, and was an Americanized version of Great Britain's The Big Breakfast. Breakfast Time and Personal fX would regularly feature the channel's "roving reporters" visiting unique places around America live via satellite. Suzanne Whang (now of HGTV), John Burke (now of E!) and Phil Keoghan (now of CBS's The Amazing Race) were some of the roving reporters. Other notable fX personalities included Karyn Bryant and Orlando Jones, who were panelists on "Sound fX."
The channel prided itself on its interactivity with viewers. fX, in 1994, was an early adopter of the internet, embracing e-mail and the World Wide Web as methods of feedback. Most of the shows would feature instant responses to e-mailed questions, and one show, Backchat (hosted by Survivor host Jeff Probst), was exclusively devoted to responding to viewer mail, whether e-mailed or mailed traditionally. Select viewers were allowed to spend a day at the "apartment" and take part in all of the channel's shows. Inside the channel's syndicated programming blocks, channel hosts would frequently appear during commercial breaks to read e-mails from viewers about the episode airing, or to promote upcoming programming.
fX's viewer base was very loyal, but the budget was simply too high for the clearance the channel was receiving. Ironically, the first incarnation of fX was not even available on the local cable system in New York City, where programming originated. During the time the channel launched in the mid-1990s, cable systems around the United States were upgrading their infrastructures to increase channel capacity and were not regularly adding channels until these upgrades were complete. The same problem plagued Fox News Channel around its early 1996 launch.
The live shows gradually disappeared one by one until only Personal fX remained. Breakfast Time was moved to the Fox network and renamed Fox After Breakfast in mid-1996. It underwent several format changes and never found a substantial audience, thus it was canceled less than a year later. Eventually, all live programming with the exception of Personal fX was dropped and the channel focused entirely on its classic television shows until its relaunch in mid-1997. Personal fX remained on the refocused FX until May 1, 1998. FX vacated the "apartment" in the summer of 1998 and the channel's operations were streamlined with the other Fox-owned cable channels.
fX was relaunched as "FX: Fox Gone Cable" in early 1997, targeting men aged 18 to 49. The channel became known for original drama series and NASCAR programming.
During the first few years after its relaunch, FX was known for little else than airing reruns of such Fox shows as The X-Files and Married... with Children, as well as 20th Century Fox shows such as M*A*S*H and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Soon after its relaunch, the tagline "Fox Gone Cable" was dropped. When the cable reruns of Ally McBeal and The Practice fumbled in primetime, FX predominantly ran movies in their more high-profile time periods.
In recent years, however, the channel has emerged as a major force in original cable programming, gaining both acclaim and notoriety for edgy dramas. This began in 2002 with the release of its breakout hit, police drama The Shield. This trend continued the following year with Nip/Tuck, a drama about two plastic surgeons in Los Angeles (originally set in Miami, Florida), and the Denis Leary-helmed Rescue Me, about FDNY firemen and their lives post-9/11. Unlike many broadcast networks, FX is willing to take risks with their programming and push the envelope of what can be shown on television, having high, TV-MA ratings. Opinions on these shows are mixed. Some organizations, like the Parents Television Council and American Family Association, have asked advertisers to boycott these shows due to their graphic content. However, the shows are also critically acclaimed for their strong storylines and characters.
Capitalizing on the success of the hit documentary Super Size Me, creator Morgan Spurlock launched a new series, 30 Days, on FX in June 2005. The series puts its subjects in situations uncomfortable to them for 30 days, such as making millionaires work for minimum wage, and having Christians live in a Muslim community.
In the summer of 2005, FX debuted two new comedy series, Starved, about the daily lives of four friends with eating disorders who live in New York, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, about four people who own a bar in the titular city and somehow always wind up having comic misadventures, usually very politically incorrect. Both of these shows feature frank sexual dialogue and strong language, pitched as "The Dark Side of Comedy". Starved was derided by groups that sought to publicize eating disorders and canceled after its first season, having garnered low ratings. Conversely, Sunny quickly became a critical darling, consistently achieved high ratings, and was picked up for a second season within days of its first season finale. Fox aired an edited version of Sunny for a three-episode run in the summer of 2006, in an effort to further promote it on FX. The show still runs today.
In 2006, FX debuted two new series, the reality television show Black. White. and the drama Thief but neither were picked up for a second season. After 2006, FX also no longer broadcast NASCAR, as sister channel Speed Channel became the new cable partner for NASCAR on Fox.
Throughout 2007, FX introduced three new dramas, Dirt starring Courteney Cox, The Riches starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver, and Damages starring Glenn Close, with Ted Danson, and Rose Byrne. All three did well in the ratings and were renewed for second seasons. On October 15, 2007 a high definition feed was launched on DirecTV and many U.S. cable systems. As of 2008, the channel was available in 90.6 million U.S. homes.
In 2008, the channel launched a new branding campaign built around the theme There Is No Box, which was influenced by the phrase "outside the box" and refers to how the channel's programming goes beyond the box concept, as well as a pun on the channel competing against premium channels such as HBO, with its original programming. The channel's logo changed on December 18, 2007 and uses only the FX letters for branding by removing the klieg light logo box to the left. The new branding included an advertising campaign, featuring a post-game ad for the channel during Fox's coverage of Super Bowl XLII. The song that is used in the promo commercial is "You Give Me Something" by James Morrison.
Over 2008, competition with other cable channels increased, evident in the second season ratings for less successful series, Dirt and The Riches, which had ratings decrease significantly since their first seasons. Some weeks viewers were barely over 1 million. Both shows were cancelled by FX in 2008, and Dharma and Greg, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Married... with Children and Fear Factor were also removed from the schedule.
In 2008, the channel picked up Sons of Anarchy, about a notorious outlaw motorcycle club bent on protecting their sheltered California town from corporate developers and drug dealers. It was created by The Shield executive producer, Kurt Sutter, and premiered in September, coinciding with The Shield's final season. The show was critically and commercially successful, and was renewed for a second season. Other new shows included the Kenny Hotz comedy Testees, which ran from October to December 2008, but was not renewed. Nip/Tuck and Damages began new seasons on the channel.
In August 2008, FX launched a new website, making full shows available to view online. As of January 2010, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 30 Days, Sons of Anarchy, and The League are available for viewing through the official FX site. In 2009, Spin City was removed from the schedule (though it would be restored early the following year), while a sixth season order of 18 episodes was placed for Rescue Me, even though the fifth season had not premiered at the time.
Also in 2009, the channel placed a 13-show order for a new show created by Graham Yost. The Yost project is based on Elmore Leonard's short story "Fire in the Hole." Set in Harlan County, Kentucky, it stars Timothy Olyphant as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens—a tough, soft-spoken lawman with a rough side—and chronicles his cases and personal life, including unfinished business with an ex-wife and his aging father. Initially titled Fire in the Hole, the show was later announced to be titled Lawman before being renamed Justified. It started airing in March 2010. FX also picked up Terriers for its fall 2010 lineup and began airing Lights Out in 2011.
In July 2009, FX ordered three new comedy pilots. Archer is an animated series centering around a spy agency and comes from the co-creator of Frisky Dingo on Adult Swim. It was picked up for 10 episodes, premiering January 14, 2010. The League centers around a fantasy football league and comes from a Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm veteran. Louie stars popular stand-up comedian and writer Louis C.K. and "blend[s] stand-up material with what Landgraf described as 'extended vignettes' depicting moments from [the comedian's] offstage experiences." All three shows have been renewed for a second season. FX also purchased a pilot starring Elijah Wood based on the Australian comedy series Wilfred.
On October 1, 2010, FX pulled their channels from the Dish Network line-up due to a carriage dispute. FX was returned to Dish Network's channel line up on October 29, 2010 after Dish Network and Fox, FX's parent company, signed a long term contract. As of November 1, 2010, Fox programming had resumed on New York based cable provider, Cablevision.
On October 14, 2011, FX announced that it picked up the rights to develop a series based on Scar Tissue and Lords of the Sunset Strip, the autobiographies of the Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis and his father, Blackie Dammett. HBO had originally picked up the series a few years before but eventually moved on from the project. Entourage producers, Marc Arams and Mike Benson will produce the series and Keids will also be involved as a co-producer.According to Dammett, the show has been "mothballed" and he hopes interest will resume on the project once the Red Hot Chili Peppers wrap up their world tour in 2013.
On January 30, 2013 FX premiered the 1980s Cold War drama The Americans.
The channel's most popular original shows past and present include Archer, The Shield, Nip/Tuck, Damages, Rescue Me, Sons of Anarchy, Justified, The Americans and American Horror Story, as well as the comedies It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Louie, The League, Wilfred and Anger Management. The channel also heavily relies on theatrically released feature films from 20th Century Fox and other film studios (with these films taking up much of the primetime and the majority of the channel's weekend schedules), along with repeats of network television sitcoms. From the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, acquired programs broadcast on FX largely consisted of series that were originally broadcast on Fox between the late 1980s and the 2000s. In 2010, Sons of Anarchy attracted an average of 4.9 million viewers per week, making it FX's highest rated series to date, surpassing other hits The Shield, Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me and Damages
After obtaining the spring broadcast rights to NASCAR, Fox Sports announced that for their inaugural 2001 season, FX would serve as their cable partner. This meant that FX would cover several races in the series then known as the Busch Series and Winston Cup (including the All-Star Race), as well as select qualifying and final practice sessions. The move was meant to promote the channel and cause NASCAR fans to contact their cable providers to add the channel to their line-up. In 2002, channel president Peter Liguori praised NASCAR for increasing the number of available homes from 58.5 million to 76.6 million. FX also aired Major League Baseball games during this period, initially on Monday nights (1997) and then Saturday nights (1998–2001). Among the games FX covered was Cal Ripken, Jr.'s final home game with the Baltimore Orioles in 2001.
On April 27, 2011, FX started showing UEFA Champions League games as part of a deal with Fox Sports. Starting in fall 2011, FX broadcasts college football games on Saturdays. FX broadcast 13 games in 2011 as parts of Fox Sports contracts with the Big 12, Pac-12, and Conference USA conferences. In January 2012, FX began broadcasting content from the Ultimate Fighting Championship
FXX is an upcoming general entertainment channel that will launch on September 2, 2013 as an offshoot of FX; Fox Entertainment Group announced the channel's launch on March 28, 2013. Though not confirmed by Fox executives, FXX is expected to replace Fox Soccer, likely due to Fox Sports losing that channel's primary source of soccer event programming as the U.S. television rights to broadcast Premier League soccer events were acquired by NBC in October 2012 (in addition, Fox Soccer's remaining sports programming will be shifted over to Fox Sports 1, when it launches on August 17, 2013). FXX will primarily focus on comedies (resulting in FX and FXX maintaining genre-based formats similar to that of TBS and TNT) and will feature original and acquired comedy series, though feature films and some drama series will also be broadcast on FXX – with first-run episodes of some of the channel's original series being carried over to the channel from FX.
FX Movie ChannelEdit
FX Movie Channel launched as fXM: Movies from Fox (though it was originally slated to be titled "Fox Movie Studio" prior to the channel's launch) on October 31, 1994. It was originally launched as a spinoff of FX, that focused on feature films from the 20th Century Fox film library. fXM became a separately-branded channel, when it was renamed Fox Movie Channel on March 1, 2000. On January 1, 2012, Fox Movie Channel launched a new daily film block called "FX Movie Channel (FXM)", that was aimed to draw in a younger audience. The block aired from 3 p.m. to 4 a.m. and expanded its film slate to include films from Fox and other film studios that FX had acquired for broadcast on that channel. On March 27, 2013, Fox Entertainment Group announced that FXM would be converted from a programming block on Fox Movie Channel to being a full scale network.
In 1995, fX launched in Australia, featuring classic TV series (often branded as "Golden Years of Television").
fXM was a nightly block of classic 20th Century Fox films, the channel was hosted by Bill Collins (often branded as "Bill Collins' Golden Years of Hollywood", later screening on FOX Classics). In late 1998 fX became FX, a channel aimed at women, featuring shows such as The View and Donny and Marie. In late 2000, FX was again rebranded, officially becoming "Australia's first TV channel for women". In November 1, 2003, it was renamed W. as a way to make this focus more apparent.
On October 9, 2011 Fox International Channels released details that FX would relaunch in Australia early 2012 with programs such as The Walking Dead, Transporter: The Series and Hell on Wheels.
On August 6, 2011, Rogers Media and FX Networks announced that they will launch FX Canada as a digital service on November 1, 2011. Other carriers such as EastLink, Shaw and MTS TV are expected to carry FX, in time for the new channel's launch. The network will feature FX original series, U.S. acquired movies and series, and original Canadian programming and sporting events (as required by the CRTC). FX Canada's broadcast license requires that 15 per cent of its programming be Canadian in its first year, 20 per cent in its second year and a full one-quarter Canadian by its third year. Canadians cannot access content on the FX website.
Main article: FX Latin America The FX channel for Latin America, is intended almost entirely for the male audience, as a counterpart of Fox Life, created for the female viewers. In Brazil it is broadcast mainly by NET TV, TVA, Oi TV, SKY, Embratel TV and GVT TV.
FX Middle East was launched in Summer 2011 (between June and July) as a new member of the FOX Middle East Family (FOX & FOX Movies) after many bad responses to dubbing the Fox Middle East channel (Previously Fox Series) to Arabic.
The channel presents : The Simpsons, Strike Force, UFC Unleashed, Criminal Minds, CSI:NY Triple Play, CSI:Miami Triple Play, CSI:Crime Scene Investigation Triple Play, Nip/Tuck, Bull Run, Life On Mars, The Cleveland Show, The Amazing Race, Legend Of The Seeker, The Wanda Sykes Show, Defying Gravity, TNA Impact Wrestling, Louie, The Walking Dead, with some movies every night and additional series.
FX Portugal launched on the ZON TVCabo satellite and cable platform in September 26, 2007, along with Fox Crime. Also available on MEO, AR Telecom and Cabovisão.
FX was launched on April 14, 2008 on D-Smart digital platform. It has been available on Digiturk and Teledünya digital platforms since 2009.
FX was launched as part of the TopTV offering in May 2010 in South Africa.