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FX Networks

From Academic Kids

FX (shorter for Fox Extended Networks) is a name carried by two cable television and satellite channels owned by News Corporation's Fox Entertainment Group.

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FX Networks logo

Contents

United States channel

fX (1994-1997)

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fX logo, 1994-1997

The first fX channel was launched in the United States on June 1, 1994 and billed as "The World's First Living Television Network." Broadcasting from a large "apartment" in Manhattan, fX ushered in a new era of interactive television, but did not exist long enough to see the success of the genre. The network centered around original programming, broadcast live every day from the "fX Apartment", and rebroadcasts of kitschy shows from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

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 "X" was upper-case and represented the network's roots: the crossing spotlights of the 20th Century Fox logo.

The network's concept was officially retired in early 1997. The clearance (number of cable systems carrying the channel) was too low to justify the large budget. 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 network 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.

Live Programming

The fX Apartment

The fX Apartment was located on the second floor of a 3-story building leased by FX Networks that overlooked Madison Square Park in New York City. The first floor contained sales offices, and the third floor contained production offices. The second floor was home to all programming, and was made up to look like a large apartment. The apartment had several rooms. First was a large common room that contained the living room, dining room, and kitchen areas. Other rooms included a small library, a game room (complete with arcade and pinball machines) and a fully-functioning restroom. At the rear of the apartment was a large "ballroom" that served several purposes. A third-floor balcony lined the ballroom. The network's shows would often venture into Madison Square Park for some features, especially in the summer. FX's lease on the building expired on December 31, 1998. All furnishings were auctioned and the building has since been renovated.

Live Programs
  • Breakfast Time - a morning show with lifestyle segments and 'roving reporters' (aka 'Road Warriors') who visited unique sites across the country each day. This was the network's flagship show and utilized every room of the apartment. Hosted by Tom Bergeron and Laurie Hibberd. Aired 7am to 9am EST.
  • Personal fX, The Collectibles Show - similar to Antiques Roadshow, in which collectors would have unique items appraised in-studio, and a 'roving reporter' would visit collectors nationwide. Broadcast from the "Dining Room". The last live show to be canceled. Hosted by Claire Carter and John Burke. Aired Noon to 1pm EST.
  • The Pet Department - a call-in/interview show about domesticated pets. Usually broadcast from the "Game Room". Hosted by Steve Walker, Luann Lee, and fX's pet dog Jack. Suzanne Whang replaced Lee after her departure. Aired 2:30pm to 3:00pm EST.
  • Under Scrutiny with Jane Wallace - an in-depth news program broadcast each night from the "Library". Given a Cable ACE award for news programming in 1995. The first live show to be canceled. Hosted by Jane Wallace. Aired 7pm to 7:30pm EST.
  • Sound fX - a show dealing with all things music, from the latest major artists to the most creative garage band tactics. Music videos were regularly shown on this show, which originated from the "Ballroom". Hosted by Karyn Bryant, Orlando Jones, and Matt Ostrum. Jeff Probst replaced Jones after his departure. Aired 11pm to Midnight EST.
  • Backchat - fX ended each broadcast day with a viewer mail show. Viewers could write, call, or e-mail comments about fX and its shows, and the host would spend 30 minutes each night reading and responding to these comments. Broadcast from the "Kitchen". Hosted by Jeff Probst and Jane Fergus. Aired 12:30am to 1:00am EST. Near the end of its run, Backchat was pre-taped and moved to 7:30pm to 8:00pm EST.

fX, in 1994, was the first television network to openly embrace e-mail as a method of feedback. The network prided itself on its interactivity with viewers. Select viewers were allowed to spend a day at the 'apartment' and take part in all of the network's shows. fX's viewer base was very loyal, but the budget was simply too high for the clearance the network was receiving. The live shows were canceled 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 never found a substantial audience and was canceled less than a year later. Eventually, all live programming with the exception of Personal fX was dropped and the network focused entirely on its classic television shows until its relaunch in mid-1997. Personal fX remained on the refocused FX until May 1, 1998.

Some of the young talent discovered on the fX network that have moved on to larger, more successful projects include:

Rebroadcast programming

Before each show aired, and during commercial breaks, a "channel host" would appear and inform viewers about something upcoming within the episode. Some updates featured trivia about the current show, while some were merely observations.

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fXM

A spinoff network, fXM (fX Movies), was launched in 1994 and broadcast only classic movies from the 20th Century Fox catalog. It has since been renamed Fox Movie Channel.

FX (1997-Present)

fX was relaunched as FX: Fox Gone Cable in early 1997, targeting young men aged 18 to 24. The network is known for original drama series and NASCAR programming. As of 2004, the channel was available in 85 million U.S. homes.

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. Soon after its relaunch, the tagline "Fox Gone Cable" was dropped.

In recent years, however, the network has emerged as a major force in original cable programming, gaining both acclaim and notoriety for daring, edgy dramas. This began in 2002 with the release of its breakout hit, The Shield, a police drama that took viewers and critics by surprise with its extreme graphic content. This trend continued the following year with Nip/Tuck, which chronicles the world of plastic surgery. The network has often been compared to HBO in the sense that they, unlike many broadcast networks, are willing to take risks with their programming and push the envelope of what can be done with television. It's important to note that while these shows draw attention due to their graphic content, they 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.

FX also airs selected NASCAR events from the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series from February to June of each year as part of Fox's NASCAR television package.

UK channel

In 2004, Fox launched an FX channel for the United Kingdom leveraging the News Corp.-controlled BSkyB satellite network. The channel originally carried the ident "FX 289", referring to its Sky Digital EPG number, however, it was moved to 270 in May 2005, and dropped the 289 name. Like the American channel, FX UK targets men, but the target ages will be those aged 25 to 44. This was the third Fox-branded channel for the UK, after Fox News and Fox Kids (later Jetix).

Original series

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