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FX Networks Brings on the Comedy #TCA15 - Broadcasting & Cable

FX Networks Brings on the Comedy #TCA15

Cabler beefs up midseason laughers as broadcast nets still struggle to find viable comedies
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Related: Complete Coverage of TCA Winter Press Tour

Pasadena, Calif. — FX Networks paraded a bevy of comedies Sunday at the TCA winter press tour.

“We’re pretty heavy on comedy series right now,” said John Landgraf, CEO FX Networks and FX Productions, during the FX Networks executive session, adding that dramas will be featured during the summer.

Six of the network group’s eight sessions were for new and returning laughers, including freshmen Man Seeking Woman (FXX), Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll (FX) and The Comedians (FX) as well as veterans It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX), animated series Archer (FX) and Louie (FX).

FX’s success in the genre was trumpeted through It’s Always Sunny, which was picked up by the cabler for a 12th season, making it the no. 2 longest-running live action comedy in cable history and tying it for second with My Three Sons — behind Ozzie and Harriet — as longest-running live action comedy in TV history.

The network also announced it had greenlit Better Things, which will star Pamela Adlon. Louis C.K. cowrote the pilot with Adlon and both will serve as executive producers along with Blair Breard and Dave Becky.

A number of additional comedic projects are in development at the network group, including Atlanta, Pariah and Baskets. Between FX and FXX there are more than 10 comedies at various stages of production.

While broadcast nets have ordered a number of comedies, they have struggled to find shows with staying power —ABC’s Black-ish being the lone freshman to garner solid ratings.

“It’s really, I think, just a matter of, like, you need a few good ones to pop and emerge and stick and become a thing in the culture,” said Weird Loners executive producer Jake Kasdan Friday during the Fox TCA winter press tour session for the series. “And you never know.

“That’s true of all television. You just need good shows to lead the charge. I think it’s just hard to get one of these things to stick, and that’s always the case.”

A successful comedy has the potential to make broadcasters big bucks, a main reason they continue to push comedic pilots.

“Comedies are important because of the money they can make in the off-net market,” Brad Adgate, senior VP of research at HorizonMedia, told B&C in November. “The Big Bang Theory will make Warner Bros. TV billions of dollars. These shows, similar to Seinfeld or I Love Lucy, have a powerful shelf life and are watched over and over again.”

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