Fox Soccer made the switch to FXX on Mon, with the entertainment channel launching in 72mln HHs through deals with all the major distributors. Aimed at a younger crowd than flagship FX (18-34s), FXX’s foundation is comedies, movies and acquired series, though there are plans to expand to dramas. Ahead of opening day, we grabbed Eric Schrier, who along with Nick Grad serves as FX Nets pres of original programming, for a quick chat.
There are several networks launching this year targeting Millennials. Yet these are the people least likely to watch linear TV. How are you planning to win over this group?
We’re taking a brand that does very well with that generation. FX is an 18-49 network, but we do very well with certain shows and segments of our programming with the 18-34 group. We’re super serving them with FXX. It’s going to be more geared towards them with shows like "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Totally Biased," "The League" and [upcoming series] "Chozen." And also our movie inventory—we’re taking movies that service that audience and putting them in one place.
Is Netflix’s ‘Orange is the New Black’ a show you would have liked for FXX?
It’s a great show. I think it’s doing really well. I don’t know if it would be an FX show or an FXX show. I think it could play on either network. I don’t think it embodies the kind of 18-34 spirit as some of the other product we’re putting on FXX.
How do you and Nick split the workload?
We’ve worked together for 9 years. We have a short hand for how to work together. Having a partner makes it a lot easier to handle the volume of programming we’re doing. Currently, we have 13 shows. Our goal over the next year is to go from 13 to 26 shows. It’s a tag team effort. We’re trying not to change a very specific process in which we work on programming from a creative standpoint. We have a great development team of svps and below… We’re busier than we’ve ever been. We’re doing more volume than we’ve ever done, but it’s invigorating. You had one network you had to live in and a brand that you’d built over such a long period of time, there was only so much shelf space. Now with three networks, there’s a lot more room. It gives us more freedom to grow the brand.
Any second thoughts on the name? It looks really good on paper, but it is sometimes tricky to say.
No. We all get a little tongue-tied once in a while. What was important to us was to keep the FX. Instead of dividing out channels into solely distinct channels that had no correlation to each other, we felt our brand was really strong. We rebranded Fox Movie Channel as FXM last year. This felt like the best way to launch a younger-skewing network. And when you see it on air, I think it looks really distinct and different and it’s not hard to say because you’re watching it.