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FX plans to launch sister channel

LOS ANGELES – FX is going to try to clone itself.

The News Corp.-owned cable network – home to such critically acclaimed shows as “Justified” and “Sons of Anarchy” – is launching a sister channel this fall, dubbed FXX.

To get the channel off to a strong start, FX will move its comedies “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “The League” to FXX, as well as its late-night show “Totally Biased With W. Kamu Bell,” which will expand from a weekly to a nightly show.

FXX is scheduled to launch on Sept. 2. FX said it should be available in at least 70 million homes.

By moving two of its established comedies to the new channel, FX is betting that it will have some leverage in negotiations for carriage with cable and satellite distributors and attract attention from Madison Avenue.

FX was mum on how it will be able to launch in so many homes, but News Corp. executives have been telling pay-TV distributors that it is considering converting the Fox Soccer Channel into FXX.

Besides the FX shows that will relocate to FXX, there are plans for two other original comedies in the first year and a total of six for the second year. The channel will aim for adults 18-34. FX executives said it will not strictly be a comedy network.

“We are embarking on an incredibly ambitious ramp-up of program development and production required to sustain these networks,” said FX President John Landgraf, who unveiled FXX to advertisers in New York City on Thursday morning.

No executive to oversee FXX was named. Besides Landgraf, the executives expected to play key roles in building FXX are executive vice presidents Nick Grad, Eric Schrier and Chuck Saftler.

FXX is the second major cable initiative News Corp. has announced in the last month. It also is launching a new sports network – Fox Sports 1 – in August.


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