FX Performance/Schedule Analysis - May 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of June 20, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:

DAMAGES (DRAMA)
Serialized drama/thriller follows a powerful litigator (Glenn Close) and her protege.
Status: Second season ended on April 1. Two more seasons have been ordered. Produced by Sony Pictures Television / No Hands Productions.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
(SITCOM)
This dark comedy follows four friends who struggle between their desire to help each other and their compulsion towards looking out for their own best interests.
Status: Season 5 premiering in September. Exact start date not announced.  Produced by 3 Arts Entertainment / FX Networks, LLC

NIP/TUCK
(DRAMA)
Hotshot plastic surgeons confront career, family and romance problems.
Status: Season 5 ended in March. Renewed for 2010.  Produced by Warner Bros. Television, Shephard Robin, O Entertainment

RESCUE ME (DRAMA)
Denis Leary stars in and produces this original drama series about a firefighter struggling to hold his two worlds together: his brothers at the station and his troubled family life.
Status: Season 5 currently on air. 22 x 60. Finale is 9/8/09. Season 6 already ordered.  Produced by Sony Pictures Television / Dreamworks SKG / Apostle Pictures

SONS OF ANARCHY
(DRAMA)
A multi-generational family drama centers on a young man involved in a motorcycle club trying to face his newfound responsibilities of becoming a father. 
Status: Season 2 slated to premiere in Fall 2009, exact date TBA.  Produced by Fox 21, FX Networks LLC, Linson Films

MAY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

RESCUE ME

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

When movies represent nearly 100% of the primetime fare, biggest titles run on Thursdays and Sundays. Originals tend to run mid-week, when they are running - Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 10PM, and bigger movie titles are usually scheduled as lead-ins.

FX was never a network to run multiple encores of its series, a la BRAVO, and it has stopped running encores on Sunday nights, so each program now gets just one primetime run. However, movie titles tend to run multiple times throughout the month.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA:  September
SONS OF ANARCHY: Fall

RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:
May 2009 vs. May 2008  (% Change)
HH          M18-49    W18-49
Monday 8-11pm                3%            34%          -11%
Tuesday 8-11pm              28%           15%           27%
Wednesday 8-11pm         28%           80%           -6%
Thursday 8-11pm              5%            21%         -19%
Friday 8-11pm                 13%            5%          32%
Saturday 8-11pm             47%            41%          56%
Sunday 8-11pm               32%            35%          42%
MTWTFSS 8-11pm         23%            31%         18%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

FX pulled in solid ratings again this May, with household and 18-49 demos performing 20% better than last year and about the same as April's strong performance.

The line-up on FX has become nearly all about theatricals. There is only one primetime program on the air this month, as will be the case throughout the summer. That lone program is the original drama RESCUE ME, back for its 5th season, after a super-extended hiatus. Last month's premiere pulled in strong numbers, but underperformed season 4's debut by double digit percentages. This month's episodes also pulled in strong numbers, (relative to the rest of the line-up) generally increasing audience from the lead-in blockbuster movies. However, core men 18-49 ratings are down by about 20% vs. last month.

The best thing to happen to the ratings this month was Night At The Museum. With the sequel being released in theatres, FX aired the original movie four times in primetime, capturing the four highest rated telecasts for the month. Last year, USA had a similar bounce when it aired the first installments of the Indiana Jones movies to help promote the theatrical Crystal Skull release. The theatrical X-MEN also had a number of highly rated primetime telecasts in May (4 airings of X-MEN 3, 2 airings of X-MEN 2), helping the movie average even more. The Punisher and Underworld Revolution each had multiple runs and strong numbers as well.

Weekend movies were particularly strong, driving those numbers up between +20% to +56% vs. year ago and month ago.

So at the end of the month, RESCUE ME was eclipsed by movies, through volume and through viewing. Its telecasts came in as #12, #18, #20 and #21 this month, while last month it dominated the top ratings slots.

Other movie premieres set for this year include Wild Hogs, Spider-Man 3 and Live Free or Die Hard. The network continues to snap up movies while slowly rolling out the gritty original dramas it built its name on.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

Acquisitions are all about movie packages on FX. They are a key player in the movie after-market, primarily going after male-skewing, edgy titles. This summer they are snapping up the big box-office hits right after they hit theatres.

The Proposal was picked up in a four-year deal with Disney the Monday after it opened in June. Adventureland from Miramax was included in the deal as well. Movies should be on FX in early 2012.

Immediately after the Memorial Day opening, FX announced it had picked up the cable rights to Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian from 20th Century Fox, becoming available in November 2011.

FX picked up the rights to X-Men Origins: Wolverine plus seven other films: The Wrestler, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Bride Wars, Taken, Marley and Me and two action films 12 Rounds and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.

FX outbid Turner and USA for cable rights to Paramount's Star Trek, immediately following the theatrical's weekend release. The movie will probably hit FX's air for the 2011 holiday season for a four-year window.

Right after the release of Monsters vs. Aliens, FX struck a deal with DreamWorks Animation for that title, plus upcoming theatricals through 2012, including Shrek the Fourth, Kung Fu Panda sequel, the original Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, among other titles. (The network has been running the Ice Age and Home Alone titles with some success lately).

In early 2009, FX made a deal with Paramount Pictures on a multiple movie title package covering Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Most of the movies were 2008 releases and will be available to FX by the beginning of 2010. Transformers will be available at the end of 2011. Other package titles consist of Cloverfield, Tropic Thunder, Eagle Eye and Beowulf plus a few other smaller films.

Back in 2008 the net got more aggressive about purchasing big packages, many of them done as pre-buys. For the most part, the movies are adult, edgy titles or comic-book fare (Spiderman, Hulk, Fantastic Four).

The following lists past theatrical acquisitions that include movie titles that have not yet started airing:

It was announced in October 2008 that FX purchased the cable rights to three 20th Century Fox movies: Max Payne, The X-Files: I Want to Believe and The Rocker. FX paid an estimated $8 million for a four-year term that begins in late 2010/early 2011.

In June 2008 it was announced FX would pay approximately $11 million for the exclusive cable network-window rights to air the Sony film You Don't Mess With the Zohan starring Adam Sandler. FX's window opens in 2010 following the exclusive pay-TV run on Starz.

On March 25 a $115 million+ Universal deal was announced. The deal comprises most of the titles on Universal's 2008 slate; about 15 titles, many of which are prebuys. Titles include The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Wanted, Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Leatherheads. Other titles in the FX package include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Deathrace, Baby Mama, The Express, Changeling and The Strangers, Jarhead, Definitely Maybe, Doomsday (Rogue Pictures), Eastern Promises and In Bruges (Focus Features). The FX window kicks in about 28-30 months after the theatrical release, with the first of the bunch available summer 2010.

The Sony Columbia Pictures package also includes prebuys to five unreleased titles, which are Vantage Point starring Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox, The Pineapple Express starring Seth Rogan, Step Brothers starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, 21 starring Kevin Spacey and The International starring Clive Owen. According to Variety, the deal also includes these three other released films: Walk Hard, Untraceable and We Own the Night. FX is scheduled to air the featured films within about 28 months of their debut in theaters and pay-per-view channels.

Marvel has struck a deal with FX for the TV rights to Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and three others in another pre-buy arrangement.

FX paid $55 million for the exclusive network-window rights to five theatrical movies from 20th Century Fox:  The Simpsons Movie, Live Free or Die Hard, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Death Sentence and Hitman. The movies become available to FX in fourth quarter 2009, after their pay TV runs on HBO. The movies are all consistent with FX's male-oriented programming strategy.

Other deals include Columbia's Spider-Man 3, Superbad and Ghost Rider and Disney's Wild Hogs.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

RESCUE ME (Drama) Original series
An 18-episode sixth season was pre-emptively ordered in February '09. .

SONS OF ANARCHY (Drama) Original series
Renewed for a full 13-episode second season.

DAMAGES (Drama) Original series
Picked up for one more 13-episode season

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (Comedy) Original series
39 additional episodes ordered, to air through 2011.

NIP/TUCK (Drama) Original series
A total of 100 episodes have been ordered. Its last season will air in 2011.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

No recent announcements

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

None.

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